Valentine's Day is a few days away, but it's never too early to receive something sweet. Monday morning, local war veterans were given cards and cupcakes from the surrounding community. YNN's Katie Husband has more on how the Salute to Hospitalized Veterans program has grown.
BATH, N.Y. -- It was a special moment as veterans were handed Valentine Day cards. The Salute to Hospitalized Veterans committee was spreading cheer at the Bath VA medical center.
"I didn't make it to the big WW II or Korea or Vietnam, but I did serve in the National Guard in New York back in the (19)70s, so I have a kinship camaraderie with these vets here," said Ed Mancini, Salute to Hospitalized Veterans, committee chairman.
Through the years, they collected about 16,000 cards from surrounding communities. More than 1,900 of them this year came from the Corning-Painted Post School District, teaching students a valuable lesson.
"It's because we're recognizing and giving thanks to our vets for the sacrifices they gave to make sure that we are free and that they can go to school and have the opportunities in America that we all so wish they could have," said Representative Tom Reed, 23rd Congressional District.
When the committee started, there were only 300 cards to give out. Six years in the making, organizers say they didn't expect it to get this big, but now that it has the effort won't and can't stop here.
"We partnered this year with Bob Evans restaurant in Riverside and their general manager contacted his home office in Columbus, Ohio. They got Buffalo and Batavia and Riverside, couple of their stores in Florida are doing it and I understand the company is going country-wide," said Mancini.
"It makes me feel special and right here, down in my heart, that people are recognizing us," said Amalia Pellon, a Vietnam War veteran.
A simple joy that organizers hope can be spread to more veterans in the future.
At the medical center, Corning's mayor announced that every February will now be recognized as National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans Month in that city.