The Cherokee Nation delivered more than 2,500 handmade valentine cards to veterans in northeastern Oklahoma in time for Valentine’s Day.
More than 20 schools and organizations from across the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction set aside time to craft uniquely designed cards addressed to “My Hero” and “Our Vets.”
“The valentines for veterans program is a way that many people can get involved in showing support and appreciation for the men and women who served in our country’s military forces,” said Jennifer Kirby, executive assistant for Cherokee Nation Human Services.
Starting February 10, valentines were being delivered by Cherokee Nation and Cherokee Nation Businesses employees to Veterans Affairs hospitals in Muskogee and Fayetteville, Arkansas. They will also be delivered to veteran health clinics in Vinita and Tulsa, Cherokee Nation senior nutrition sites and the Claremore Veterans Center.
“The veterans are very appreciative of the valentines they get, and the younger visitors cheer them up and brighten their day,” said Greg Sorenson, chief of volunteer services at Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center in Muskogee. “It lets the veterans know they are not forgotten.”
Curtis Washington, Army veteran and teacher at Cherokee Nation Immersion Charter School, participated by having his sixth-grade class make cards.
“The students get a sense of self-satisfaction that they’ve done something good for somebody,” Washington said. “They may not even know all the details behind it, but they understand the concept of giving and thanking those who have served our country.”
Cherokee Nation’s valentines for veterans program started in 2008 by the late Rogan Noble, a Marine veteran and advocate for the tribe’s veterans’ affairs. The program is part of the National Salute to Veteran Patients.