Kids have a heart for local veterans

Elementary students create cards of thanks; US Rep. Heck’s staffers will deliver them Thursday

lpemberton@theolympian.comFebruary 13, 2013 

Hundreds of South Sound students used their school recess time this week to create cards with heartfelt messages for military members.

Students at South Bay, Lacey, Lydia Hawk, Chambers Prairie, Seven Oaks, Olympic View and Meadows elementary schools in the North Thurston Public Schools district were among nearly a dozen schools that participated in the “Valentines for Veterans Drive” led by U.S. Rep. Denny Heck of Olympia.

Students at Michael T. Simmons Elementary School in Tumwater also signed up to participate in the event.

“They were eager to say ‘Thank You’ to our veterans for their service,” said Kate Cook, principal at South Bay Elementary School, which generated about 200 cards.

“It was fun to see the different ideas students had to make special cards. It was also great to hear the conversations about their connections with those who had served or are serving right now.”

Representatives from Heck’s office plan to deliver the cards Thursday to VA Puget Sound Health Care System American Lake Division in Lakewood.

The freshman congressman said he would also create a card for the project, which he hopes will grow to be an annual event.

“Some of my colleagues are also hosting their own Valentines for Veterans Drive, but there’s no organized national effort yet,” he said. “Hopefully, in the years ahead the idea will continue to grow and spread to more schools and communities.”

At Meadows Elementary School, students decorated hundreds of cards with messages such as “Thank you for protecting us!” and “You are awesome for keeping us safe.”

In fact, the activity was so popular Monday that school officials decided to offer it during recess times Tuesday as well.

“We like doing projects that include the whole student body because it develops an awareness and appreciation of the sacrifice made by those that serve in a branch of the military,” said Teresa Scott, a military support paraeducator in North Thurston Public Schools. “It is nice to invite everyone, and it especially makes the students with military parents feel supported and proud.”

Anyone who wants to participate in the Valentines for Veterans Drive can drop off cards before 5 p.m. today at Heck’s district office, on the third floor of Lacey City Hall, 420 College St. SE, Lacey. For more information, call 360-459-8514.

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433

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