Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) passed out homemade Valentine’s Day cards to veterans at the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System on Sunday.
After collecting cards from students in the Dearborn, Taylor and Ann Arbor school districts for two weeks, Dingell met with veterans to hand-deliver the cards and listen to their stories.
“We got over 2,000 valentines,” Dingell said. “It’s a way for the veterans to know that they're appreciated. It helps brighten up a room, it brings a smile to a face, it makes a sterile place look warmer.”
This is the first time students have been able to share Valentine’s Day cards with veterans, but Dingell is looking to make it a year-round program.
“This veterans hospital and the John Dingell [Veterans Affairs Medical Center], and quite frankly veterans hospitals around this state, are taking care of the veterans that have served our country and in return for the service they’ve done for this country, we need to make sure that we are taking care of them,” Dingell said.
Hospital Director Robert P. McDivitt said that Dingell was a good fit for honoring the veterans.
“She's been a supporter of veterans as part of this facility for many years before becoming a member of Congress and we’re absolutely thrilled to have her,” McDivitt said. “Every veteran she has met with has been so appreciative for her time and support.”
Dingell also talked about her plans to provide support to veterans and their families in the future. Veterans at the Ann Arbor Veteran Affairs might see the addition of a Fisher House. The houses offer traveling veterans a place to stay and the families of veterans a way to stay close to veterans while they receive treatment.
Dingell said that the community needs to serve reserve families.
“I’ve worked with a lot of reserve families of veterans that have been overseas and they're not going to ask for help; they're too proud,” Dingell said. “So we need to be there if somebody is overseas serving and a family is here and they need help to shovel the walk or fixing something in the house.”