Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) invited local K-12 students to create handmade Valentine's Day cards for hospitalized veterans. They responded generously by sending nearly 7000 cards--the largest outpouring of support since Congresswoman Speier began collecting cards in 2008. On Valentine's Day, cards will be hand delivered to patients at the San Francisco VA Medical Center at Fort Miley.
"The response has been overwhelming," said Speier. "Our veterans have a special place in all our hearts, and local students have expressed their affection to our veterans in some colorful and touching ways."
The message on one card handmade by a Central Elementary School student says, "Thank you so much for serving our country. My grandpa fought in World War II. And my uncle fought in a different war. My family greatly appreciates your service! You make our county safe!"
Superintendent Anne E. Campbell of the San Mateo County Office of Education was instrumental in coordinating the "Valentines for Vets" effort across the 35 participating schools in the Peninsula.
"By participating in Valentines for Vets, our students are able to show their support and express their gratitude for the service our veterans have given," said Campbell. "Our schools look forward to this project every year."
Speier said she was inspired to initiate the annual project by syndicated newspaper columnist Ann Landers, who started the tradition 23 years ago. Landers encouraged her readers to send Valentine's Day cards to veterans in VA facilities across the country, and millions of cards, letters, and packages have been delivered to veterans since.
Speier invited local school principals to join "Valentines for Vets" in a January 11 letter. She wrote, "School teachers can use this activity to educate young people about the importance of honoring veterans, especially those hospitalized."