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VA Medical Center Continues Valentine’s Day Tradition

Everybody deserves a Valentine, especially those who fought hard for our country during years of war.

As part of an annual event, Senator Jeff Klein visited United States veterans at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center on 130 W. Kingsbridge Road on Wednesday, February 16, to once again say thank you for all that the veterans have done for the country and give them special Valentine’s Day gifts.

The event was part of the VA National Salute Program which has occurred every year since 1978 during the week of Valentine’s Day to express honor and appreciation to the inpatient and outpatient veterans by inviting local celebrities, elected officials and school children.

For the last 16 years, Senator Klein has visited during Valentine’s Day week, and this year was joined by other special guests, including Miss Teen USA 2010 Kameran Crawford, Miss New York 2010 Claire Buffie, S.U.N.Y Maritime Color Guard and students of the P.S. 83 children’s choir who sang for all of the veterans present that day.

“We can never repay our veterans for their selfless sacrifice but we can continue to recognize and honor their service to our country,” Klein said. “I look forward to this event every year when we come together to celebrate our brave veterans to whom we are deeply grateful for.”

Klein brought gifts and cards that were written by students from various schools in the borough, such as P.S. 19, P.S. 83, P.S. 108, P.S. 71, PS/MS 194, P.S. 14, P.S. 175 and P.S. 97, then allowed Miss Teen USA 2010 and Miss New York 2010 speak to the veterans and thank them for their duties to the United States.

For the last 33 years, the VA Medical Center hosts the event in hopes that visitors and special guests will further recognize war veterans and learn more about the important roles that volunteers play at the center with hopes that they might pursue volunteer opportunities as well.

According to MaryAnn Musumeci, director of the VA Medical Center, the veterans always look forward to visitors and are always especially excited for the annual Valentine’s Day week gatherings.

“The National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans gives everyone a chance to let our veterans know how very much they are appreciated,” Musumeci said. “We’re always excited to welcome friends and neighbors who visit. Their participation heightens the celebration and brings a special note of cheer to our veterans.”

Those who may be interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities with the VA Medical Center can contact the office of Voluntary Services at (718) 598-9000.

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