Every day, some 98,000 veterans are treated in Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers, outpatient clinics, domiciliaries, and nursing homes. And every year, during Valentine's Week, a call goes out to the public to visit and honor these hospitalized veterans during National Salute Week. This year, the event runs from February 11 - 17, 2007.
From the VA:
VA invites individuals, veterans groups, military personnel, civic organizations, businesses, schools, local media, celebrities and sports stars to participate in a variety of activities at the VA medical centers. The activities and events include special ward visits and valentine distributions; photo opportunities; school essay contests; special recreation activities and veteran recognition programs.
The week also provides an opportunity for the community to become acquainted with the volunteer opportunities within the medical center.
Contact your nearest VA Medical Center and ask for Voluntary Service to discover the wonderful things you, your group or organization can do to salute America's Heroes. Locate the facility nearest you.
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Jim Nicholson, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, sent this invitation via a letter send to Dear Annie recently:
The week encourages Americans from all walks of life to deliver valentines to local Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers and visit the veterans there.
Schoolteachers use this week to educate our young people about the importance of honoring veterans, especially hospitalized veterans. Community groups, veterans service organizations, professional athletes and others realize the importance of a personal touch, a heartfelt "thank you" and small acts of compassion in the lives of veterans who are patients at VA facilities. Volunteering at VA's hospitals is one way to participate.
Over the years, Annie, your generous support and the backing of your readers have helped this program generate more than 10 million cards and letters for hospitalized veterans and tens of thousands of visits from community members. Hundreds of people step forward each year to join the ranks of VA's volunteers.
Each card and letter is a message of caring for our hospitalized veterans and a sign of respect for their contributions to our country. But what really brightens a hospitalized veteran's day is a visit from someone who wants to spend a few moments to personally thank them for their military service.
There are numerous opportunities to become a volunteer and thousands of reasons to say "yes" to this important week. No special skills are necessary, just the willingness to help those who have served our country.
Read her reply, and then find the nearest VA facility in your area and spread some love around...