JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
Each year, during the week of Valentine's Day, the Department of Veterans Affairs hosts the National Salute to Veteran Patients program, which is designed to pay tribute and express appreciation to veterans.
More than 30 Airmen from Joint Base Charleston visited the Ralph H. Johnson VA clinic, the Naval Health Clinic Charleston hospital and the Trident VA clinic, Feb. 12 - 14, 2013, handing out Valentine's cards to veterans.
"This event is important because our veterans need to feel loved, honored and appreciated every day of the year for their countless sacrifices, and what better day to show them than Valentine's Day," said Master Sgt. Tiffany Robinson, 17th Airlift Squadron first sergeant.
The 17th AS members volunteered for the project when the local VA coordinator reached out to the Charleston Random Acts of Kindness organization. Charleston Random Acts of Kindness is a group of volunteers bound together with a single and simple goal of spreading smiles by practicing random acts of kindness and being of service to our community by volunteering.
"I extended this invitation to my fellow first sergeants and the entire base populace," said Robinson. "There was much behind the scenes help in making Valentine's cards from a lot of Joint Base Charleston spouses."
In addition to the Valentine's cards, Airmen were also able to share stories and thank Veterans for their service.
"I think I speak for the majority of Airmen who volunteered for this event, when I say that being able to put a smile on the faces of our veterans puts an even bigger smile on our hearts," said Robinson. "They are so extremely worth it."
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Salute to Veterans Patients Program is also designed to increase community awareness of the role of VA medical center and encourage citizens to visit hospitalized veterans and to become involved as volunteers.
"I responded as an act of kindness," said Staff Sgt. Adrienne Forth, 17th AS Squadron Aviation Resource Management noncommissioned officer in charge. "Sometimes we never know how many hearts we've touched, especially, if we don't get away from our day-to-day duties to put a smile on someone else's face. As I walked to my vehicle, I had a smile on my face because I knew I touched someone and what they didn't know was they had touched my heart as well."
Contact the nearest VA Medical Center and ask for Voluntary Service to discover events you, a group or an organization can do to salute America's Veterans. For more information, contact the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center at 843-577-5011.