Valentines for veterans [Letter]

Valentine's Day is a great time to say thank you to veterans throughout the country. The VA National Salute to Veteran Patients Week observance runs Feb. 9-15 and is timed to coincide with Valentine's Day to connect the holiday's sentiments of caring and sharing with expressing honor and appreciation to Veterans for their sacrifice and service.

Already, Valentine cards are arriving at our three inpatient facilities to attest to the gratitude toward our nation's veterans. During this observance throughout the VA Maryland Health Care System, local community musical groups have volunteered to perform throughout our facilities, bringing their music, their talents and time to veteran inpatients.

As part of this week-long observance, the VA Maryland Health Care System invites community members to learn more about volunteer opportunities at any of our VA inpatient or outpatient facilities. There are more than 1,340 volunteers who gave over 113,000 hours of service during the past year to support the needs of Maryland's hospitalized veterans. We cherish the time and talent volunteer community members dedicate to our veteran patients.

We hope that Marylanders continue to remember the needs of our veterans with a show of support and appreciation through continued visits and volunteer involvement. At the VA Maryland Health Care System, community volunteers can choose from an array of activities and assignments that can make their experience enjoyable for them and for our veteran patients. Whether you volunteer to sit and chat with a veteran, help them write letters or bring a musical instrument to play for their enjoyment, just being present with a smile is sometimes all it takes to brighten a patient's day.

Dennis H. Smith

The writer is director of the Veterans Administration Maryland Health Care System.

To respond to this letter, send an email to Please include your name and contact information.

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