Retired Sgt. Victor W. Butler is turning 100 on Saturday and some Jefferson County middle schoolers are showing him love.

Butler was a mechanic for the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of primarily African American pilots in World War II. 

Students at Clay-Chalkville Middle School helped fulfill Butler’s wish by writing him letters to wish him a happy birthday and thank him for his service.

“What makes them really special isn’t about, like, what they did in the air,” said eighth-grader Tony Greenhouse. “It’s about … how they fought, how they risked their own lives to save us, and we’re just really just total strangers down here. They don’t even know us.”

The Tuskegee Airmen were educated at the Tuskegee Institute, now Tuskegee University in Macon County. The members of the Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American pilots in the U.S. Armed Forces.

“I would hope that he understands how appreciative we are, and not only how proud we are as Americans of him, and how appreciative we are of what [he's] done for us, but also just personally as African Americans how he’s paced the way for us,” said Dr. Nefertari Yancie, a teacher at the middle school.

“People used to think we didn’t deserve this, just because of our skin color, but him fighting for us, showing that he was good enough… brought us where we were today,” said eighth-grader Olivia Gibson.

If you would like to mail Butler a letter, you may address it to P.O. Box. 3523 in Cranston, Rhode Island 02910.

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