Julie Rasmussen, 8, of Roseburg was enthusiastic about creating a Valentine’s Day card for a veteran Wednesday at the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Umpqua Valley in Roseburg.
“Thank you for serving our country,” she wrote inside a card decorated with hearts bearing messages such as “Text Me” and “Tweet Me.”
Rasmussen said she doesn’t know any veterans.
“I just want to do it so I can make them feel like they’re doing a good thing for our country,” she said. “I just thought it was a really fun thing to do, and it’s helpful because people might appreciate it. And I really like art.”
Rasmussen was one of dozens of kids who made valentines that will be delivered to the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Valentine’s Day. The Valentines for Vets program is part of the annual Celebration of Literacy, sponsored by Altrusa International of Roseburg and the Umpqua Reading Council.
Celebration of Literacy Chairwoman Maxine Durst said this is the Valentines for Vets’ 12th year, and the 17th year of the Celebration of Literacy. During the celebration, kids are encouraged to read and write and about 9,000 books are given away. The kids get a lot out of the valentine-making event, Durst said.
“It helps them to feel compassion for people, in this case the veterans, along with developing their creative abilities in making the design of the card and in being able to put together a verse,” she said.
Some of the kids in the crowd, who were making valentines around 3 p.m. Wednesday, had only a vague idea what veteran means. One young boy thought they might be those people who help out sick animals, for example. Others, though, were grateful for the veterans’ service, and some even had veterans in their own family.
Jasmin Morales, 10, of Roseburg said she felt “really good” about making a card for a veteran.
“I’m writing for any veteran and writing for my uncle,” she said. “I’m writing about that they fought for us, even if they didn’t have to, in the Army, and that we love them and appreciate them.”
Morales was even inspired to think she might like to join the service herself.
“Maybe one day,” she said. She thought she’d like to join the U.S. Coast Guard.
“I like the beautiful ocean and to sail on the boats,” she said.
Caden Moschgat, 8, of Roseburg enjoyed writing valentine messages. He wrote one to his buddy, a girl named Sam who goes to his school. He said he likes to bring walnuts on the bus for Sam. In his card to her, he wrote, “This is for u just if you know your welcome for the wall-nuts.”
Moschgat has a cousin who’s a veteran, but he wasn’t clear where he’d served. He planned to express his thanks to the unknown veteran who’ll receive his valentine.
“I’m going to say to the veteran, ‘thank you for protecting my country. Me and my family really appreciate it. From Caden,’” he said.
Gracee Center, 9, of Roseburg was more excited about writing cards for her mom and for her dad, who she said is leaving to work with a carnival.
“I love you so much,” she wrote on the inside of both cards.
Center wasn’t certain what a veteran was, but she was happy to write a card for one anyway, saying she hoped he or she would “Have a good day.”
Scarlet Gonzalez, 9, expressed concern about the veterans as she threaded white ribbon through a pink card with cutout hearts along the edge.
“I kind of feel bad for them because they might get hurt,” she said.
She hadn’t written her verse yet, but said, “I hope they like it.”
Valentines for Vets Event Chairwoman Cynthia Mounts said the kids are “so much fun.”
“I love it, because the kids, you see their creativity and you create an awareness for kids this age about appreciating the veterans,” she said.