Minister O’Regan visits St. Mary’s Elementary School students making Valentines for Vets

News Release

Grade five class meets Korean War Veteran and learns Canadian military history firsthand

February 9, 2018 – St. John’s, NL – Veterans Affairs Canada

For generations, Canada’s Veterans have selflessly served our country with courage, honour and pride. Through Veterans Affairs Canada’s Valentines for Vets program, many Canadians—youth, individuals and organizations—across the country can thank those who served, and bring joy to Veterans on Valentine’s Day.

Today, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, joined grade five students at St. Mary’s Elementary School in St. John’s, NL, in making Valentines for Veterans in their community.

Local Korean War Veteran, Mr. Leslie Mercer, joined Minister O’Regan to share his wartime experience with the 24 students. He explained to them what it was like as a young man serving as a bombardier with the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery in the Korean War, and the significance of his war medals. The children proudly presented him with some of their homemade valentines.

Valentines for Vets invites Canadians to create cards with messages of thanks for Veterans in long-term care facilities across Canada. Every year, Veterans Affairs Canada receives thousands of handmade cards and distributes them to long-term care facilities where they are delivered to Veteran residents in time for Valentine’s Day.

Valentines for Vets reminds Veterans of Canadians’ gratitude for their service. The personal touch of handcrafted valentines brings smiles to their faces—some Veterans display their cards for weeks after Valentine’s Day.


“Through Valentines for Vets, Canadian youth learn about the sacrifices and achievements of those who served, and thank Veterans with their handmade cards and messages of thanks. I sincerely thank Mr. Leslie Mercer for connecting with the students at St. Mary’s Elementary School today, and making our history come to life for them.”

Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

“I am thrilled with meeting these students today, sharing my stories and seeing their young faces interested in learning about the Korean War. Valentines for Vets is a wonderful way to thank those of us who served our country, and I am very touched by the students’ special messages in these cards.”

Mr. Leslie Mercer, Korean War Veteran

Quick Facts

  • Valentines for Vets began in 1989, when the late newspaper columnist Ann Landers encouraged her readers to create special valentines for Veterans throughout Canada and the United States.

  • Veterans Affairs Canada has participated in this program since 1996.

  • In 2017, Veterans Affairs Canada distributed approximately 17,000 valentines to more than 6,000 Veterans in 1,453 Canadian long-term care facilities.

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Media Relations
Veterans Affairs Canada

Alex Wellstead
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs

Sharon Collett, Principal
St. Mary’s Elementary School

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