KINGSTON, ON – Glue, scissors and heart-shaped paper cutouts were in full swing at an ALCDSB school for the annual Valentines for Vets event with the support of Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) this morning.
Minister of VAC, the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, joined Mrs. Ryan’s Grade 5 and 6 class at St. Martha Catholic School in Kingston to help the students make handmade Valentine’s Day cards for Canadian veterans.
“It always means so much to [the veterans]—and to me—that kids take some time to thank veterans for their service,” says Minister MacAulay. “I know it’s always meaningful to them when people take a minute to say thank you—even if their service was a long time ago.”
In attendance were ALCDSB Superintendent of Education, Michael Faught, school board Trustees Brian Evoy and Kathy Turkington, and Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands, Mark Gerretsen. The group sat with the 22 students at their desks to join in on the card-making activity in the classroom.
Mrs. Ryan’s students had the opportunity to share what making the cards meant to them.
“We do this to support all the veterans and those who might be struggling, especially when we have bad weather and they can’t see their families,” says Avery, a Grade 5 student.
Mrs. Ryan says she was thrilled when she learned that Hon. MacAulay would be coming to her classroom and explained why his appearance was not only important to her class, but the whole school.
“Lots of kids in our class have family in the military and in the St. Martha community at large, so it is important to recognize the veteran contribution,” says Mrs. Ryan. “This event allows us to recognize veterans throughout the whole year across Canada.”
The cards will be distributed to veterans on Valentine’s Day on February 14.
Each year, Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) invites Canadian schools, individuals and organizations to make Valentines for Vets. VAC then distributes the valentines to Veterans in long-term care facilities across the country by February 14.
Valentines for Vets began in 1989 when the late newspaper columnist, Ann Landers, encouraged her readers to create special valentines for Veterans in care facilities throughout Canada and the United States. Every year, Landers' special "Valentines for Vets" column asked her readers to remember the sacrifices of their nations' Veterans by making them personal hand-crafted valentines.
VAC became involved with the program in 1996 and has been receiving and distributing valentines to Veterans in care facilities across the country ever since.