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Elementary school kids make valentines for vets

By: Stephanie Dumm, News Messenger Reporter
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Kristin Snook’s first-graders made hand-crafted Valentine’s Friday but not for anyone they knew. The pink and red cards were not for the Twelve Bridges Elementary School student’s friends or family but were for deployed soldiers and veterans. “It’s pretty fun,” said first grader Mason Mercer, about making the valentines. “I think they’re going to be happy.” Student Darienne Sandhu said she wanted to make the cards “because it’s going to people who fought for our country.” During the past few weeks, students from both Carlin C. Coppin and Twelve Bridges elementary schools have made cards for these military personnel. In fact, both schools produced a total of 1,120 cards for soldiers and veterans. The children are making the cards because of an idea of Jon Hodson, a Veterans of Foreign War member in Lincoln. He said the VFW visits a veteran’s home annually in Yountville “and thought it would be nice to bring some Valentine’s Day cards to the veterans” during their yearly visit. “It’s to show them we care and a break of routine for them,” Hodson said. The cards will also be sent to a veteran’s hospital and three sets of deployed troops in Afghanistan. Hodson asked Twelve Bridges Elementary School principal Jeremy Lyche if the students could make the cards. He called Lyche because Twelve Bridges Elementary School holds a Veteran’s Day assembly each year, Lyche said, and invites Lincoln veterans. “I had this idea I wanted 50 or 60 valentines and Lyche provided over 700 and contacted Carlin C. Coppin Elementary School,” Hodson said. The students were excited to make the cards, Lyche said, who wants the children to understand “where our freedom comes from.” The principal also hopes making the cards “will help the students be grateful for the freedom they have” and “to remind them it’s come at a cost.” The students made the cards Friday using doilies, pink and red construction paper, and each wrote a message in their cards, such as “Thank you for serving our country” and “Thank you for helping people be free.” Snook said she was proud of her students for being patriotic. “I think it’s fabulous and really great for the kids to learn how to honor the veterans and be patriotic,” Snook said. The valentines will also be sent to three sets of troops in Afghanistan, who will in addition be sent a camera to take photos of their daily lives. “The troops will take pictures and send them back with pre-paid packages to show the kids at the schools where they eat and sleep, and their surroundings so the kids can get a sense of what their experience is,” Hodson said.