Hearts go out to service members

Caitlyn Anderegg from Grand Junction making a valentine to send to military personnel overseas. Grand Valley Blue Star Mothers puts on the 3rd annual Valentine’s Factory.

Briana Chavez admitted it has been years since she created valentines from scratch, but the chance to be creative for a cause enticed the teenager to spend part of her Saturday helping others.

Chavez, 15, glued hearts on top of hearts as she made two homemade cards that will be shipped overseas to men and women in the U.S. military in time to celebrate Valentine’s Day. “It’s nice to show appreciation,” Chavez said.

Chavez doesn’t know anyone in the military. However, being a family member or friend of a veteran or active-duty soldier wasn’t a requirement to show support during the annual Valentines Factory at Mesa Mall.

The Grand Valley Blue Star Mothers collected hundreds of homemade cards Saturday and will continue to collect cards from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. today at Mesa Mall.

Mall officials donated money plus tables stocked with stickers, markers, glue and paper so that children and adults could make original Valentine’s Day cards. Chavez glued several paper hearts to her card before writing a personalized note wishing soldiers a happy Valentine’s Day.

“I love it,” Chavez said about doing a craft project at the mall, “and they deserve it.”

The valentines won’t be delivered to any particular soldier or platoon, so people were encouraged to be generic in their well wishes.

For example, two middle school students from Fruita simply addressed their valentine to “A Hero.”

“It’s just appreciation,” Blue Star Mothers Vice President Val Kennedy said. “Everybody likes to be loved.”

In addition to accepting valentines, the Blue Star Mothers are accepting cash donations or items for care packages. People with questions about needed items can call 640-1065.

The donation and valentine tables are set up near the food court inside the mall.

This is the third year the Grand Valley Blue Star Mothers have set up their Valentines Factory. Valentine’s Day seemed like an appropriate time to send cards and care packages because it is a holiday when loved ones are recognized, Grand Valley Blue Star Mothers President Sherry Verdieck said.

One Army specialist sent a note back to say he was overwhelmed that people from Grand Junction would take the time to send items such as Valentine’s Day cards to soldiers they never met, Verdieck said.

“They love getting extra stuff,” Kennedy said.


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