P.E.I. students busy making valentines for veterans
'The vets could be sad after they fought in the war for us'
An annual national program offering Valentine's Day cards to Canadian veterans is in full swing on Prince Edward Island.
The Valentines for Vets program, set up by Veterans Affairs Canada, tasks students, individuals and organizations to make cards and have them delivered to veterans in long-term care facilities.
It is Master Seaman Alesia Chiasson's first year being involved with the program.
"I'm really excited about it and I've heard from my co-workers that these cards really bring a smile to the face of the veterans that receive them," Chiasson said.
"So I am really excited to be able to have a part in that this year."
She said schools across the Island are participating in the program. Chiasson was at Stratford Elementary on Monday speaking with students there making cards.
"We're coming into the classrooms, we have the unique opportunity of explaining to them what a veteran is and then talking about the importance of remembering veterans year-round and not just on Remembrance Day," she said.
Chiasson said typically people across Canada send valentines to an address through VAC and they are then shipped out to veterans, but P.E.I. does things a little differently.
"We've customized this program. So we actually go into the classrooms with students and engage with them and interact with them. And then we take their valentines and we actually personally hand deliver them to veterans," she said.
"It's a really great program, I mean I can't wait to deliver these cards."
Chiasson said some of the messages kids have been writing on the cards have been "bringing a smile to her face."
"Some of them are very comical," she said.
Abi McCarthy, one of the students making cards, said she thinks it's an important project.
"The vets could be sad after they fought in the war for us and it is good just to tell them that we're thinking of them even when it is not Remembrance Day," she said.
Abi said she hopes her card makes a veteran happy.
Eleven-year-old Duilin Giddings said he was making a pop-up valentine for veterans to "keep their spirits up" while they are receiving care.
"After a long time a lot of veterans and … people discharged from the army get down on themselves," he said.
Opportunity to show appreciation
The veterans getting the cards are in long-term care facilities across Prince Edward Island.
"We'll be doing deliveries three days over this week. So, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday," Chiasson said.
Wednesday they will hand out cards in the western part of the Island, Thursday cards will be delivered to the central part of the Island and on Friday those in the Charlottetown area will get their cards, Chiasson said.
"Kind of a neat thing with this program is that a lot of the veterans who are in these long-term care facilities, they may be feeling a little lonely this time of year, on Valentine's Day," Chiasson said.
"So it's just an opportunity to show our appreciation for them. They are not alone. We remember them."
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With files from Brian Higgins