Visit area veterans for Valentine's week

Monday, February 11, 2013

No one should be alone on Valentine's Day, and this year -- no one has to be. I would like to invite personally every one of your readers to show their love and appreciation to the veterans who defended their freedoms by visiting the John J. Pershing VA Medical Center as part of the National Salute to Veteran Patients occurring this week.

Your readers can join our Visit a Vet for Valentine's Day Program or arrange to visit veterans, through our Voluntary Service Office, during National Salute to Veteran Patients Week at our facility and remind them their sacrifices are not forgotten.

And the love doesn't have to end on Valentine's Day. Many of our veterans are coming to the Department of Veterans Affairs with special needs and challenges that require the hearts and hands of a new generation of VA volunteers. The John J. Pershing VA Medical Center invites citizens young and old to join us in honoring our veterans year-round by learning more about the VA's volunteer program.

Every citizen can make a positive difference in the life of a veteran patient. Visits from community groups do so much to lift the spirits of our patients. I invite every member of our community to participate.

Call our Voluntary Service office at 778-4276 or 778-4447 to schedule a visit and learn how to join the VA's National Salute to Veteran Patients.

Incidentally, at the John J. Pershing VA Medical Center, this year's National Salute activities include the following:

* An opening ceremony at 10 a.m. today, followed by musical entertainment by Bill Anderson and Friends;

* A martial arts demonstration by Skip Johnson at 2 p.m. Tuesday;

* A visit from the VFW and Ladies Auxiliary Department of Arkansas on Thursday. They will be presenting veteran patients with Valentine's treats.

* A visit to the patients by Aaron Tippin on Friday, before the VAlentines for Veterans Concert. Community Living Center (nursing home) residents will be attending the concert at 7 p.m. that night.

Thank you -- and you readers -- for your continuing support of America's veterans. Through your continuing participation in veteran-oriented events, our Southeast Missouri and northeast Arkansas heroes know you appreciate their sacrifices.

Marj Hedstrom is the medical center director of the John J. Pershing VA Medical Center in Poplar Bluff, Mo.

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