A heartfelt thanks to the many supporters for sharing the love this past Valentine’s Day in a community wide effort to bring joy to recuperating veterans.

The Key Biscayne American Legion Auxiliary ladies coordinated the counting, pick up, and delivery of 1,648 Valentine’s Day cards with special messages of care and love to the Miami Veterans Health Care System hospitals veterans two days before the holiday.

The Valentines were delivered to vets who live at the Miami VA year round. Some have permanent disabilities causing them to be wheelchair bound as they cope with a myriad of injuries such as spinal cord related infirmities.

Many veterans are residing at the Miami VA for several months as they pursue therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related conditions.

The Miami VA hospital also has veteran patients on site awaiting critical and necessary treatments or recuperating there after major procedures.

There are veterans in residence that have no family present with them to help support their healing process. Some do not have any family left at all.

The Valentine’s Day cards made by the kids sent wonderful messages of love and hope for these men and women who have put in priceless time and service, sacrificing life and limb, for our country.

The happy holiday cards were also delivered to veterans coming to the Miami VA for vision or hearing clinic assistance, or who were awaiting an appointment with a medical doctor, or there to receive physical therapy. Cards were additionally delivered to out-patient clinic vets as well.

The KB American Legion Auxiliary wishes to thank all of the participating schools and their students, classroom teachers, and art teachers, for working together on the heart-warming Valentine’s Day messages of hope, love, support, and appreciation.

We can never know how profoundly those simple messages of care and love may have touched the lives of the 1,648 receiving veterans to help further their healing journey. But the mere contemplation of how profoundly these expressions of appreciation may have impacted so many is an unforgettable inspiration.

The Miami VA is also grateful for this blessed Key Biscayne tradition. The genuine act of kindness from so many schools, teachers, and big-hearted students typically saves them over $4,000 in expenses that would have gone to purchasing store-bought Valentine’s…not nearly as memorable as those hand-made expressions from key kids.

Thanks for helping to heal the hearts and souls of our beloved veterans with your priceless gift.

Thank you: KB Community Church School, KB K-8 Center, St. Agnes Academy, KB Presbyterian Church School, St. Christopher's By the Sea School, and Mast Academy.

Author Barbara Dawn Cromartie has been a Key Biscayne resident for decades. She is the daughter of Major Richard. L. Cromartie JR. (1921 - 2017). The American Legion Post 374 is named after him in honor of his enduring service. (See feature article from the July 28, 2017 issue of Islander News).

Ms. Cromartie is a very active President of American Legion Auxiliary in Key Biscayne and organizes many fundraising and charitable events. She is a long time member and committee member of Key Biscayne Woman’s Club and recently ran the club’s bake sale at the Farmer’s Market. She is active in her church and at community center events. Islander News looks forward to feature her continuing community contributions in future editions.