It’s a labor of love and respect for the nation’s war veterans.
Jeff Swanson works with the United War Veterans Council getting Valentine’s Day mementos out to vets.
“We gather all the cards and gifts, from different spots, you can see behind me there’s a lot, and we take them to the VA hospitals, military bases, and we show the love that the people showed to our military,” Swanson said.
Swanson said the outpouring of love is moving.
“I get a funny feeling when I see it too. I mean, I never had it when I was in. But to see the guys now that are coming home and the old vets that are in the VA hospitals, to see a smile on their face, it makes me understand that the younger generation that are kids, they’re starting to understand what the veterans are doing and what the active military are doing,” Swanson explained.
Swanson said the cards might seem like a small gesture, but for the men and women who have sacrificed so much for their country, and sadly often pay a heavy price for the rest of their lives, these cards can mean a lot.
“They’re in there all by themselves. They’re like all alone and like nobody cares; some of them don’t have family. So an event like this that we do for Valentine’s Day, it brings a little joy into their lives,” Swanson said. “It’s not an easy transition coming out of the military and going into a civilian life. They have their PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] and their TBIs [traumatic brain injuries]… and a lot of people don’t understand what that’s all about.
But a new generation is beginning to understand. “Dear soldier, I salute you and you fighting for our country. One day, I want to be just like you. Thank you. Sincerely, Nicholas. 4th grade,” one card reads.
The sentiment is expressed in the countless cards and gifts people send. Although the senders and recipients don’t know each other at all, the cards all express pure love and gratitude.