Valentine’s Day is Friday and this is the week to show some LOVE and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) encourages you to show some of that love to their VA patients. Each year, for the last 36 years, during the week of Valentine’s Day, the VA holds the National Salute to Veteran Patients, a program that invites the community – schools, businesses, musicians, veterans service organizations, etc. – to show their appreciation to patients in the VA’s medical centers, outpatient clinics, domiciliaries, and nursing homes, and encourages them to become VA volunteers.
Events vary by location but generally include handing out valentines cards and gifts contributed by local school children, dropped off at commissaries and base/post/navy exchanges, or collected by newspaper columnist Ann Landers. Last year over 310,000 valentines were handed out.
A few events happening across the country include:
– At the VA medical center in Dallas, Korean War Veterans will provide cookies and coffee to outpatients, the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders will hand out squad photos, and patients will receive visits from Congressmen and local beauty queens.
– In Detroit, patients will get a visit from the Wayne State Volleyball team and a magician, Suits for Soldiers will have a professional attire giveaway, and the Polish Legion of American Veterans will host BINGO.
– At the Tomah VA Medical Center in Wisconsin, there will be a Valentine’s Day dance and art created by veterans will be on display.
Additionally, a series of free “Valentines for Veterans” concerts for veterans and their families are put on across the country throughout the week. This year, the concert schedule is as follows:
– 12 Feb: Battlecreek, MI
– 13 Feb: Charleston, SC
– 14 Feb: Tuskegee, AL and Poplar Bluff, MO
– 15 Feb: Columbus, OH and Sioux Falls, SD
To find out what’s going on in your town and how you can get involved, you can contact your local VA facility’s volunteer department. Need the number? You can look it up here: http://www.va.gov/landing2_locations.htm
© 2014, Sarah Maples. All rights reserved.