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By Sarah Pleiman

The month of love has just begun, but the students at TAS have been hard at working creating dozens of valentines to send to VA hospitals and soldiers overseas. Mrs. Quin Curley, the elementary art teacher, explained how she presented the project to her classes.

“I wanted the kids to understand why they were doing this,” Curley said. Before beginning their artwork, she played a short video of soldiers receiving the valentines. Their reactions and gratitude for the simple cards spoke volumes to the students. “It was awesome to see the kids that don’t always take art seriously really work hard to create something meaningful to send.”

I began this project last year at TAS, and couldn’t wait to send another box of handmade cards this year. Unfortunately, the organization that I worked with last year was unable to participate this year due to COVID. After some research, I found the Soldiers’ Angels organization. They distribute valentines at VA hospitals, and organize distributions to active members of the military overseas; however, they asked for $1 to be sent per valentine to help cover the costs of the distributions. Due to the expense, I was uncertain we could participate this year.

Luckily, we have a great community partner: First National Bank of St. Ignace. When I contacted Angie Harris, regional branch manager and assistant vice president of the bank, she was more than happy to help.

“This is such a great idea,” she told me. She donated a check on behalf of the bank to sponsor each valentine made by a TAS student. I couldn’t be more grateful for such a generous business in our community.

Our students worked very hard to create some amazing cards. I was thrilled to see so many classes participate, and see the genuine well wishes written in the valentines. Several students stated their gratitude, and a few even mentioned their hopes of becoming soldiers themselves one day. I hope the appreciation and recognition of service and bravery in these valentine cards is truly accepted by the men and women they reach.

To those who have served and those who are serving: thank you for all you have done, all you are doing, and all you will do. Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day.