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posted: 1/27/2014 2:19 PM

Glendale Heights collecting valentines for veterans

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  • Bob Vargas, Member of VFS Post 2377, helps decorate valentines with St. Matthew School students for the Glendale Heights Valentines for Veterans program.

      Bob Vargas, Member of VFS Post 2377, helps decorate valentines with St. Matthew School students for the Glendale Heights Valentines for Veterans program.
    Courtesy of the village of Glendale Heights

  • Members of clubs and teams at the Glenbard District 87 high schools often make cards to be distributed through the Valentines for Veterans project.

       Members of clubs and teams at the Glenbard District 87 high schools often make cards to be distributed through the Valentines for Veterans project.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer, JANUARY 2013

  • Valentines for Veterans contributions can be handmade with doilies, stickers, construction paper and more, or store-bought with a written note.

       Valentines for Veterans contributions can be handmade with doilies, stickers, construction paper and more, or store-bought with a written note.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer, JANUARY 2013

 
 

Do you remember how fun Valentine's Day was in elementary school? You'd bring home your decorated box and sort through all the cards from your classmates. You'd marvel at the homemade valentines and chuckle at the puns on the store-bought cards.

And you'd feel close to your classmates because -- required or not -- you'd each taken a moment to think a nice thought about each other.

Now imagine you're a hospitalized veteran who accepted the risks of protecting our country and its people. You'd be touched if one of those people -- especially someone you didn't know -- sent a card or a note to thank you and to say they're thinking of you.

That's the sentiment behind Glendale Heights' Valentines for Veterans program, to create a connection between grateful civilians and the military veterans who put their lives on the line for us.

For the 19th year, the village is collecting valentines and other cards to be distributed to patients in Veterans Administration hospitals and homes in Illinois. The project is a local effort on behalf of National Salute to Veteran Patients week, a Veterans Administration movement to encourage people to visit and send cards to hospitalized veterans during the week of Valentine's Day.

Mayor Linda Jackson proclaims the salute lasts throughout February in Glendale Heights.

School and community groups, as well as public employees, typically participate, but corporate teams and individuals from Glendale Heights and beyond are welcome to take part. Valentines can be handmade or store-bought, as long as they arrive at the village hall by Monday, Feb. 3.

"The cards allow our community to let our hospitalized veterans know that they are our heroes and we appreciate what they have done for our country," said Nicole Lewis, assistant to the village administrator.

Today, Lewis tells us more about the project she oversees for the village.

Q. What's the mission of Valentines for Veterans?

A. The mission of the Valentines for Veterans program is to recognize and support Illinois veterans, and to acknowledge the National Salute.

Q. How does the program work?

A. We ask the local community and surrounding communities to assist with designing and decorating cards. We receive beautifully written and decorated valentines created by village employees, the village preschool, area schools and area businesses, as well as from various individuals and organizations.

Q. Who do you serve?

A. Illinois veteran homes and hospitals.

Q. When and why did Glendale Heights start Valentines for Veterans? How has it grown? What kind of success have you had?

A. The village began the Valentines for Veterans program 19 years ago. This small gesture brings much happiness to these individuals who, as our heroes, deserve to be remembered. The village receives thousands of handmade and store-bought valentines for this program.

Q. How can readers get involved?

A. Decorating cards, assisting with sorting and packaging cards. For ways to help, call me at (630) 909-5327.

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