Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Valentines for Vets

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: For many years, your compassionate readers have brightened the lives of America's hospitalized veterans by participating in the Valentines for Vets program during Salute to Hospitalized Veterans Week (Feb. 12-18). This program encourages readers to deliver valentines and visit with veterans at their local Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical center.

Scout troops, community organizations, houses of worship and social organizations have all used this program to encourage young people to become involved in their community and learn about the meaning of service from our veterans.

Last year, more than 760,000 cards and letters were delivered to hospitalized veterans. More than 37,000 community members made nearly 100,000 visits to veteran patients. Hundreds were inspired to become volunteers at a VA hospital or outpatient clinic.

The visitors to our hospitals see our dedicated VA employees and volunteers caring for the veterans who have served this country so valiantly. VA is renowned for the world-class health care it provides our veterans.

This year, VA is celebrating 75 years of providing health care and benefits to veterans. Your readers can become a part of this anniversary celebration by volunteering at a VA hospital. Special skills are not needed, just the willingness to give the gift of time and compassion to our veterans.

I urge your readers to stop by a VA hospital and talk to a veteran. Show the veterans they are not forgotten. I promise your readers it will be an experience they will treasure for life. Our compassionate and caring staff is dedicated to serving these veterans and providing world-class health care. When your readers meet the veterans, they will understand why we are so inspired.

The addresses of our facilities can be obtained by looking in the telephone directory, by calling our toll-free number at 1-800-827-1000 or by checking our website at


I look forward to another successful year of Valentines for Vets, and I know our veterans do as well. Sincerely -- R. James Nicholson, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Washington, D.C.

Dear Secretary Nicholson: Thank you for once again giving us the opportunity to mention this worthwhile project. We can never repay these courageous veterans for the sacrifices they have made on our behalf, but we can take the time to cheer them up and let them know they have not been forgotten.

Readers, please send valentines to our veterans at VA hospitals, or better yet, drop by for a visit. Every year, members of Camp Fire USA participate in this program, and Salvation Army volunteers distribute valentines, gifts and refreshments to various VA facilities around the country. Teachers, you have always been wonderfully supportive in making this a class project, especially with those wonderful handmade valentines. Encourage your students to display their creativity, and let them learn firsthand the satisfaction that comes from doing for others.

The veterans would be thrilled if you could drop off your valentines in person and visit for a few minutes. If you do not live close enough to a VA facility to stop by, you can mail your valentines. To find the location of the nearest VA hospital, you can check your phone book, access the VA website facility locator at, or call the toll-free number at 1-800-827-1000. Please remember our veterans this Valentine's Day. We know of nothing else that costs so little and brings so much happiness. -- Marcy and Kathy

"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2017. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at




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