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Two WWII veterans celebrate their 100th birthdays at Whataburger

When C.J. “Red” Wallace and Wayne Palmer celebrated their 100th birthdays, their cakes weren’t ablaze with a hundred candles apiece.

Instead, each wished on a single Whataburger-branded candle while family, friends and Whataburger Family Members cheered.

Both the World War II veterans love them some Whataburger, so their families arranged parties to mark the milestones at their local Whataburger restaurants.

Wallace partied down on his big day – April 13 – at Whataburger in Malakoff, Texas. Palmer celebrated on April 15, and even Whataguy came out to the store in Lufkin, Texas, to join the fun.

Each party was filled with sage advice from the guests of honor and plenty of orange.

April 13: Honoring C.J. “Red” Wallace

Wallace stepped out of a stretch limo and onto a red carpet rolled out in his honor at the Malakoff Whataburger. “If you want to live a long life, you’d better get plenty of exercise,” he says.

Wallace’s grandchildren, great-grandchildren and Whataburger family fulfilled the WWII veteran’s wish of receiving 100 cards on his 100th birthday.

After serving with the Air Force in North Africa, Italy, France and Germany during WWII, Wallace worked for General Motors for 27 years.

Wallace’s great-grandaughters were among the guests marking the milestone at one of their great-grandfather’s favorite places.

He says the bun is one of the best parts of his usual order: a #1 Whataburger with mayo added, minus onions and pickles.

“It’s special that he let Whataburger share his milestone,” says Shelly Lipe, the marketing director for Hablinski Investments, a Whataburger franchise.

April 15: Celebrating Wayne Palmer

Palmer, being greeted here by friends, agrees with Wallace about the key to a long life. “You gotta stay active, otherwise you’re not going to go very long.”

During steamy East Texas summers, Palmer keeps a half-dozen lawns mowed. Each of those takes about two hours. Whew!

Balloons, cards and banners marked Palmer’s big day.

He credits his faith for getting him through tight spots in life. One of those tight spots was D-Day on Normandy Beach in France.

At the Lufkin restaurant, the Whataburger Family knows Palmer’s breakfast order as the “Palmer Special.” That’s one scrambled egg, one pancake and two pieces of bacon. Other customers ask for it by name too!

Palmer’s cake was 100 percent Whataburger, even orange on the inside, and topped with a Whataburger French fry candle.

“We know how much Mr. Palmer enjoys coming to our restaurant,” says Maci Dover from the G.V.C.S. Whataburger franchise. “This celebration is just one way for all of us at Whataburger to show how much he means to us.”

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Whataburger has focused on its fresh, made-to-order burgers and friendly customer service since 1950 when Harmon Dobson opened the first Whataburger as a small roadside burger stand in Corpus Christi, Texas. Today, the company is headquartered in San Antonio with more than 900 locations across its 14-state footprint and sales of more than $3 billion annually. Whataburger is a 2022 Top Workplaces winner. The brand has more than 50,000 Family Members (employees) and more than 60 million customers who like to customize their Whataburgers just like they like it. Visit whataburger.com for more information. To apply for Whataburger jobs, visit whataburger.com/careers.

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