More than 400 valentines made their way to veterans in VA hospitals and nursing homes this Valentine’s Day, thanks to the big hearts and helping hands of the staff and program participants at Goodwill Industries of Tulsa. The activity was a voluntary effort conducted in conjunction with the Cherokee Nation’s ‘Valentines for Vets” program.
Karla Davis, director of finance and IT at the agency, first heard about the idea through her role as a Girl Scout volunteer and life member. While she didn’t have time to activate the project with her troop, she thought it would be a great activity for people at the Goodwill’s headquarters and at the Goodwill East Campus.
“As an organization, we are trying to open new ways for our staff and clients to connect with us, with each other and with the broader community,” Davis said. “Our hope is that these activities will make employees more engaged and thus happier, more satisfied and less likely to leave the organization.”
Davis also noted that supporting veterans is something that is close to the hearts of many Oklahomans. The state’s National Guard troops have been called up for service in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years, meaning veterans are no longer just grandparents; they are parents, children, neighbors and friends.
More than 25 staff and program participants participated in the activity, with others donating cards to be used in the project. The valentines were addressed to “My Hero,” “Our Hero,” or “My Friend” and signed with the first name of the writer, the agency name, or both. Many cards also included a thank you message for the veteran.
The Cherokee Nation emphasizes that while plenty of organizations exist to send items to our troops overseas, the veterans in VA hospitals and VA nursing homes are often overlooked. Last year, the group delivered more than 4,000 valentines to veterans.