Veterans receive valentines from local youth

Residents of the Washington Veterans Home in Port Orchard received loving messages of encouragement and thanks from students across Central and South Kitsap in honor of Valentine’s Day.

U.S. Congressman Derek Kilmer served as the deliverer of the valentines, written by elementary students in Kitsap’s public schools, including Port Orchard’s Mullenix Ridge Elementary. Kilmer said his discussions with the youth of Kitsap unveiled a very real want to protect those who protect us.

“You’ll be pleased to know how many of the young people said that we need to take care of our veterans,” he said. “We want to make sure you get the care that you have earned in service to our country.”

The cards all had classic Valentine’s Day symbols of hearts, red imagery and the like. They also contained personalized messages from students who thanked them for their service. A few explained how they had veterans in their family, creating a connection between the youth and the vets.

Smiles could be seen all around. The gesture even brought some tears. “They’re awesome. Anything like this always brings me to tears,” said Kris Boudreau, a disabled Navy veteran who currently assists in fundraisers and local awareness efforts for fellow disabled veterans.

Another resident unable to share her name was overjoyed to receive the valentines on behalf of her deceased husband. She said it helped her feel close to him during what can still be a hard time. “I wish he were here. He would love to see this.”

Boudreau said he knows how much events like this mean to residents, bringing even the slightest smile to the hardest faces. “Seeing this from this generation who know very little of what we’ve done, from what they do know, it’s heartfelt,” he said.