Couple celebrates 70th wedding aniversary from gifts from around the world

A Bakersfield couple just celebrated a huge milestone in their life, but what they received was an additional honor that left them speechless.

One may expect to get cards and letters from loved ones celebrating an anniversary, but Richard and Mary Arambula received pictures, cards and letters of congratulations from notable people from around the world.

"It blew me away. I didn't expect it, I surely didn't expect it," said Richard Arambula.

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The Arambula's have been married for 70 years and their granddaughter, who is living in Germany, decided to reach out to people, including the President to get letters of congratulations.

"First we wrote the Vatican, then we got a response and then we started thinking who else? If we can get this, we got the president, we got the pope, who else can we get. And it just went from there," said Belinda Banister.

Her response spread like wild fire and 150 people, from politicians to sports figures and celebrities responded. Each of them sent a picture with a greeting, and or cards and letters.

Richard's favorite one is from the Vatican.

"I treasure that one quite a bit. I'm sure possibly they sent many of those out but the way it's worded means a lot to me," said Arambula.

It took Banister over a year to coordinate this undertaking, that she says was a labor of love and wanted to honor her grandparents. Her goal was to tell others how special they are by including their bio with the request letter.

"We thought we would maybe get 10 responses. We thought we would have a lot of agents tell us they don't do that. We had some of those, but we never dreamed of getting 150 responses, it's insanity," said Banister.

She presented her grandparents with the book that contained all of the responses during their anniversary celebration last week, where over 120 close friends and family were in attendance.

"I never expected anything like this, it was a big surprise," said Mary Arambula.

Mary says it's difficult to find her favorite, but is leaning toward the signed baseball card she received from Steve Garvey.

Banister also reached out to Joan Rivers' people, who said she will respond when she finishes on tour, but unfortunately Rivers passed away before she was able to respond. However, Rivers publicist sent a brooch and a Shaw in her behalf.

"I am touched that she would pay so much to send it to me because I'm just a nobody from Bakersfield," said Arambula.

Additionally Banister reached out to local individuals and groups via social media and email and the response was equally impressive.

"My grandparents are local people. They love Bakersfield and they love the community, so I wanted the community to love them too," said Banister.

The Arambula's say they really don't deserve this honor just because they were married so long, but are completely touched by everyone who responded to their granddaughters request.

"I would say the secret to a successful marriage is to learn to be tolerant toward one another. To forgive and forget and move on," said Arambula.

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