From February 1 to February 14, 2012, the United War Veterans Council (UWVC) brought Valentines gifts and gratitude to veterans and military service members from West Point to Washington, D.C. This year’s effort — our largest series of Goodwill Valentines Caravans to date — culminated in our first-ever visit to the new Walter Reed National Military Hospital in Bethesda, MD.
The mission of the Goodwill Valentines Caravans is to bring love, cheer, and goodwill to those who served and sacrificed (and to their families) in the form of Valentine’s Day cards and gifts.
According to UWVC Executive Director Pat Gualtieri, “We found out a few years ago that the troops and veterans received a good amount of support and attention during the holiday season and on Memorial Day, Veterans Day and the other patriotic holidays.
“But then, a chaplain told us that Valentine’s Day was often a lonely time for many of them, especially those recovering in military and veterans hospitals. So, we started the first Goodwill Valentines Caravan to show them they were loved, appreciated, and certainly not forgotten. And it’s just grown from there.”
UWVC team members and volunteers spent the month of January gathering cards and presents for our service members and veterans and assembling gift bags and baskets to be delivered to military and veteran facilities throughout the area.
UWVC Team Member Jeff Swansen (U.S. Navy Veteran) spent countless hours organizing the complex logistics of multiple caravans and deliveries, while the mother-daughter team of Kelly and Jessica Bryan coordinated the stuffing of gift bags and the assembly of baskets, assisted by volunteers from the Samaritan Village Veterans Program and numerous other helping hands.