Valentines for Veterans

Every year around Valentine’s Day, my girlfriends and I make handcrafted valentines for the hottest people we know:  VETERANS.

I started this Valentine’s for Veterans tradition after reading about the trend in a Dear Abbey column. Apparently, thousands of groups from Girl Scouts to book clubs were crafting valentines for veteran’s groups. Considering that my community has an active VA hospital, it was the perfect match for my local ladies group. For ten years, we have been making valentines for the veterans at our hospital.  And for ten years, it has been a heck of a good time.

Last night was no exception. My lady friends and I gathered at a local restaurant, carrying bags of supplies (from glue sticks to stickers) to the back nook of the bar.  We spent hours crafting, coloring, and cocktailing. As the cocktails flowed, the valentines became more creative. The basic heart card turned into a paper airplane covered with real kiss prints from my cranberry-colored lipstick. Some of the valentines were silly. Some were true works of arts. But all were made with love. After a few glasses of wine and endless french fries, we had a pile of seventy-five valentines sealed with a kiss..

This morning, I delivered the cards to the hospital. The volunteer coordinator told me that they typically received 2500 valentines annually, mostly from children. Yet, she assured me that our adult valentines were just as appreciated. The valentines were added to the veterans’ lunch trays and many of the veterans keep them as decorations in their room.

As I left the VA hospital, I was overwhelmed with emotion. I walked passed dozens of veterans with various medical needs. Some were waiting for appointments. Some were wheelchair bound. Some were only visible through the crack of the door to their permanent rooms.

Our little love notes weren’t fancy. But they were heartfelt. And I can’t imagine a group of folks who deserve them more.

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