STOW, Ohio — Operation Valentine’s Day—a program that aims to collect Valentines for troops deployed overseas- is expanding to include the men and women responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vice President of Stow City Council Jeremy McIntire, an Iraq War veteran and a Purple Heart recipient, is organizing the collection and said it’s an opportunity for the community to show their appreciation for our troops overseas.
“Receiving greetings from people back home is very important for our service members,” said McIntire. “Troops can often find themselves going days even weeks without hearing from a loved one. There is no better feeling than coming back from a mission and finding that you received mail.”
Valentines are being collected at Stow City Hall from now until Jan. 25. When the program was first launched, organizers expected to receive between 1,000 and 2,000 letters, but ended up with over 12,000 valentines to send to troops.
This year, McIntire hopes to collect 20,000 valentines.
“We were so grateful for the huge outpouring of support that we received when we launched this campaign in 2020” said Claire McIntire. “Seeing how communities have come together during these unprecedented times, we want our First Responders and Healthcare Professionals who are sacrificing so much right here at home know that we are thinking of them and thank them for keeping us safe.”
Supporters are asked to please adhere to the following guidelines when creating valentines:
- Send a handwritten letter, note or handmade card. Everyone feels extra special when they receive handmade, individually created Valentines. Envelopes are not required.
- Keep your cards to a size of 8 1/2" x 11" or under for ease in shipping and distribution.
- Cards cannot include glitter, food, or candy, but there are still many ways to personalize a handmade card. Write a message on them and say, “Thank you”, tell them about yourself and wish them a Happy Valentine’s Day! Our Troops, First Responders, Doctors and Nurses spend a lot of time away from their loved ones and friends, so let them know you appreciate them. Please feel free to share this with everyone you know!
- Our Military personnel love to communicate with you! You can include your school, church, or organization name, address and/or email contact on each card so recipients can write back. Cards from children/students must include a first name only. If you do not receive a reply from a Service Member, do not be discouraged
- Photos of the sender, sender's family, church, or classroom participants can add a personal touch to your card.
- Do not put individual Valentines in sealed envelopes. Bundle cards and send in a single large envelope or box containing all the Valentines
There will be two places where the community can drop off their letters:
- Stow City Hall—3760 Darrow Road, Stow, OH 44224
Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- McIntire's home: 1904 Baker Lanw. Stow, OH 44224
All letters must be received by Jan. 25.
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