Veterans receive Valentine's cards as part of National Salute to - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Veterans receive Valentine's cards as part of National Salute to Veteran Patients

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Veterans received a special Valentine's Day gift Saturday. Guests visited the patients at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Iowa City delivering Valentine's cards and snacks. It was the kickoff for a week-long National Salute to Veteran Patients.

Larry Camden is a Vietnam War veteran. He served in the army for two years and says he'd do it all over again.

"I loved the military and everything," said Camden.  " The military's the best thing in the world for anybody."

Camden is a patient at the Iowa City VA Medical Center. Saturday he received some special visitors. Volunteers spent part of their day delivering valentines to the veterans. It was in honor of the National Salute to Veteran Patients, which is held each year during the week of Valentine's Day.

"It's important that we recognize our veterans everyday," said Larry Sharp, Iowa City VA Healthcare Director. "This is just one day out of the year that we put a special emphasis on it."

Some of the volunteers were also veterans. Others attend Clear Creek Amana High School.

"I did this last year and I really liked the experience of it, just talking to people and hearing their stories," said Mani Espinoza, Senior.

The students are part of Clear Creek Amana's Student Assistance Team, a service-based club.

"I think it's a great opportunity to show our veterans what they mean to us and Valentine's Day is such a nice holiday and they don't get the recognition that they need," said Katie Garvin, Junior.

The Valentine's program gives the VA hospital a chance to show off its volunteer program. Hundreds of volunteers put in nearly 100,000 hours each year, which saves the hospital about $2 million.

 "We want to highlight the volunteerism and ability and opportunities for the community to volunteer at our facilities, whether it's here in Iowa City at the hospital or at any of our nine community-based clinics," said Sharp.

With the help of volunteers, veterans like Camden can have a special visit every day and not just on holidays.

Saturday was the kickoff to National Salute to Veteran Patients week. Other groups are scheduled to visit with the patients throughout the week.

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