While you decide on the perfect way to romance your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day, take a moment to support a current or former member of the military who may not have a sweetheart this year.
Salt Lake Community College Veterans Services encourages students and staff to participate in their ninth annual Valentines 4 Veterans drive. The office will accept valentines between now and Feb. 14.
“Come and write a message of love or support for our military members and veterans,” says Veterans Services manager Darlene Head. “Let them know you appreciate their service to the country and to the world.”
Participating in the drive is easy.
“You don’t have to write a novel,” says Veterans Services specialist Alicia Pia. “You can write something as simple as ‘Happy V-Day’. It works. They pretty much appreciate anything they can get.”
Valentines can be made at home and brought to the office or you can add a personal note to premade patriotic valentines that are available at the locations mentioned above. Donations of a dollar or more are appreciated, to help cover expenses for packaging, postage and candy purchases.
Soldiers of all kinds will receive the valentines.
The notes will be delivered to Veterans Affairs hospitals in Salt Lake City, Ogden, Payson and Ivins; three transitional housing centers in Salt Lake and Ogden; and military units deployed overseas.
All valentines will be read to determine which venue is most appropriate for the given message. Head explains that get-well cards might be sent to a VA hospital, while notes offering prayers may be sent to a soldier overseas.
Anyone can request to have a box of 250 valentines — stuffed with candy — sent to any military member or veteran. Soldiers who receive the boxes are encouraged to share the contents with their fellow service members.
Those who submit a valentine will help carry out a long-standing tradition.
When she was just a child, Head began writing messages to give to veterans returning from Vietnam. During Desert Storm, she and her three children began sending valentines to soldiers serving overseas.
Head, the daughter of a Korean War veteran, feels that while appreciating those who sacrifice in combat is vital, we should remember that they provide service beyond that realm.
“A lot of people don’t talk about how our service members provide humanitarian service all over the world,” she says.
More than 32,000 valentines and letters of support have been collected since 2008.
Anyone who wants to participate in Valentines 4 Vets can visit the Veterans Services office at Taylorsville Redwood Campus from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. A table will also be set up in the events hallway at the Student Center on Feb. 11 and 12.
Students who attend Jordan or South City can bring their valentines or donations to their campus Enrollment Services office by Feb. 12 at noon.
Take a moment to drop by with a valentine message of your own by Feb. 14. It’s much easier than planning that perfect date for your loved one.
“It’s painless,” Pia says, “unless you get a paper cut.”