Funeral home sponsors Valentines for soldiers

Published 7:46 pm Saturday, February 4, 2012

Valentines: Betsy Pollard, a 10-year old Junior Girl Scout from Troop 5292, shows a few of the 250 cards her troop and children at Creekside Elementary School made for troops serving in Afghanistan.

The message is a simple one: “Thank you so much for what you do, we have not forgotten you.”

That is just one of the many messages sent from the heart of a child to a soldier overseas in a project called Operation Valentine.

R.W. Baker & Co. Funeral Home and Crematory recently sponsored the Operation Valentine initiative. Students and individuals throughout the community designed handmade Valentine cards and wrote personal messages on them thanking military members for their service.

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“Within one week, we collected over 250 handmade Valentine cards to deliver to our brave men and women serving overseas,” said Blake Baker, vice president of R.W. Baker Funeral Home. “We just wanted to do some type of community service.”

The funeral home reached out to Creekside Elementary School in North Suffolk and the Girl Scouts of Troop 5292 based in Driver.

“My eyes filled with tears as I saw the children’s creativity and read the personal messages these children had written to our soldiers,” said Lou Pollard, who coordinated the effort. “What a wonderful way to commemorate what our soldiers do for us day after day and to teach young students and Scouts about our service men and women’s dedicated service to our country.”

This is not Baker Funeral Home’s first community effort in support of the military. Baker sponsored the 2010 Freedom Tribute, which brought the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, to Suffolk’s Bennett’s Creek Park.

“We’re going to try to make [the Valentines] an annual thing,” Baker said.

The funeral home at 509 W. Washington St., as well as Baker-Foster Funeral Home at 5685 Lee Farm Lane in North Suffolk, also are collecting used cell phones throughout the year for the Veterans and Family Memorial Care Cell Phones for Soldiers campaign. Phones can be dropped off at either location during the week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.