On Valentine’s Day, February 14, Canadian veterans will be receiving special handmade valentine from students at Hubbard Avenue Elementary School in Oromocto as part of the national Valentines for Vets program.
Each year, Veterans Affairs Canada encourages Canadian schools, individuals and organizations to make valentines for distribution to veterans living in long-term care facilities across the country. The program offers participants the opportunity to learn about the sacrifice of veterans and gain a greater understanding of the country's military history.
At Hubbard Avenue Elementary School, Grade 4-5 students in two different classrooms participated in the Valentines for Vets project this year. They made colourful valentines containing heartfelt messages such as: "Thank you for your service....Have a great Valentine's Day. You are a Star, Strong, True, Amazing and Remembered...Thank you for sacrificing your life for Canada...Thank you for being brave. I love you. Thank you for fighting for our country and protecting us."
The project was a big hit among students.
"Our students enjoy doing things for veterans as a lot of their parents serve in the military or they have family members who are veterans," said teacher Kerry Laviolette-Rowe. "The Valentine project is a great way for students to learn about Canada's history in war and conflict. I truly hope it puts a smile on a veteran's face when they receive them, knowing that we do remember and appreciate all of their sacrifices."
School volunteer, Sandy Theriault, first suggested the Valentines for Vets idea for students at Hubbard Avenue Elementary School.
"Sandy is very passionate about our local military and our veterans," Laviolette-Rowe explained. "She loves to do art and activities for and about veterans."
Valentines for Vets began in 1989 when the late newspaper columnist, Ann Landers, encouraged her readers to create special valentines for veterans in long-term care facilities throughout Canada and the United States. Landers' annual "Valentines for Vets" column asked her readers to remember the sacrifices of their nations' veterans by making them valentines. Veterans Affairs Canada became involved with the program in 1996, and has been sending handmade valentines to veterans in long-term care facilities across the country ever since. Though they may never meet the students who created the valentines, veterans who receive them deeply appreciate and cherish these messages.
Shown in the photos below are (left to right) (1) Hubbard Avenue Elementary School students Evelyn Pires, Sarah Aitken, Sandy Theriault, school volunteer, Bella Little, Faith Barker, Brianna Porter, Kaylee Galbraith, Chloe St-Amour, Maggie McLaughlin and Eva Apecetche working on their Valentines for Vets; (2) Students Tharin Theriault, Kayden Graham, Andi Benoit and Haylee Burns with their homemade valentines.