Valentines For Troops Effort Sending Local Love Overseas

Prepared with love from Sandy Hook School students were 44 boxes of Valentine wishes and goods going to service men and women overseas.

With the help of Newtown’s Post Master Cathy Zieff, Supervisor Richard Crowther, and postal carrier David Link, students, parents, and school staff on Friday, February 7, readied packages in an annual Valentines For Troops effort at Sandy Hook School, currently housed at Monroe’s Chalk Hill Middle School.

Victoria Chop placed decorative stickers on the boxes, and thought about whether she would write a valentine to a troop member. Preparing the packages “was fun,” she said.

Students Saahil Ray, Brandon Wong, and sisters Shannon and Jackie Hegarty were also placing stamps and stickers on the boxes Friday.

Event Co-Chair Barb Sibley said that the program, which they changed last year to send valentines to 12/14 first responders, has resumed its packages for troops this year. The Sandy Hook PTA-sponsored event saw boxes filled with students’ handmade valentines, rainbow bracelets, magazines, and more. VFW Post 308 donated cookies.

Ms Sibley, together with her friend Karyn Holden, co-chaired the activity.

Each year, the Valentines For Troops effort finds and lists addresses of deployed personnel to which letters and care packages are sent. Letters written by local students and other participants are later proofread and packed with care packages for shipment overseas, to places like Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Japan, and ships at sea.

This is the first year that Valentines for Troops took place at Chalk Hill School in Monroe, but Valentines For Troops Chairperson Donna Monteleone Randle, a former US Army captain, Signal Corps, said many students around the district took part in this year’s effort. Each Newtown public school took part in the effort this year, according to Ms Randle. Cards, letters, and Girl Scout cookies were sent to local fire companies and local EMS members as well, Ms Randle said.

On Friday, Sandy Hook School children and adults alike carried boxes — filled with valentines and comfort items like toothpaste, magazines, blank postcards, lip balm, etc, all donated by Sandy Hook School families — out to Mr Link’s waiting post office truck, where he stacked them inside.

Across the district and town similar efforts took place or will take place. Ms Randle said this year she emphasized that, “every day troops receive some cheer from home is Valentine’s Day.”

Trumbull and Monroe also took part in the Valentines For Troops effort this year, according to Ms Randle, and in Colorado and Ohio the effort was picked up for the first time.

The Newtown VFW Post 308 is sponsoring this year’s Valentines For Troops outreach program, and local organizations were also asked to participate in the program.

Anyone who wants to send out support for troops through the Valentines For Troops effort can, Ms Randle said, at any time by e-mailing vfwpost308newtown@gmail.com or by calling 203-577-9568. Ms Randle also said cases of Girl Scout Cookies are still available through the VFW Post 308 for people to send to troops.

This year, according to the VFW, letters and care packages with the Valentines For Troops effort will be sent to the Army, Navy, and the Air Force in Afghanistan, Bahrain, and the Mediterranean.

For more information about the VFW visit vfwpost308.com or search for “VFW Post 308 Newtown CT” on Facebook.

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