Valentines for Veterans Visit Bob Hope Village
by Taylar Banks
The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) and Longwood Elementary partnered to bring Valentines for Veterans at Bob Hope Village.
Shalimar, FL (February 14, 2023) - With markers, pencils, crayons, and glue sticks in hand, second-grade students from Longwood Elementary happily created Valentine’s Day cards with woodland animals not knowing the impact they would soon have. With pep in their step, the students proudly walked over to the Bob Hope Village Commons with smiles on their faces and Valentine’s Day cards in their hands.
The students were immediately met with applause and cheer from a ballroom filled with Bob Hope Village residents awaiting the young artists.
Happily, the children disbursed their hand-made cards and chimed in with conversations with residents who are retired military surviving spouses or couples. There were 125 beautiful Valentine’s Day cards made by the students and twenty-five children delivered them to Bob Hope Village. “The kids had a blast even walking here,” said Lisa Jones, assistant principal of Longwood Elementary.
Northwest Florida Military Officers Association (NWFMOA) coordinated the Valentine’s Day event partnering Bob Hope Village with Longwood Elementary for Valentines for Veterans, an annual event first enacted in 1996 by Gen. Ron Fogleman, Air Force Chief of Staff, and was intended to support the Department of Veteran Affairs weeklong National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans.
NWFMOA consists of 230 members and has been making a difference in the lives of veterans in Okaloosa and Walton counties for sixty years. According to Brig. Gen. Fran Hendricks, USAF, Ret., and president of NWFMOA, the organization is made up of all military branches that never stop serving. “We assist all ranks of those who have served and are currently serving, and we hold a soft spot for surviving spouses,” Hendricks said.
Valentine’s Day love was felt everywhere in the Bob Hope Village ballroom thanks to NWFMOA and Longwood Elementary. All residents could talk about were the hugs and cards they received from the students.
“We can’t thank MOAA enough for choosing us to be part of Valentines for Veterans,” said Bobbi Jo Dominguez, Director of Bob Hope Village. “Love is in the air today thanks to MOAA and thanks to the Longwood Elementary second graders. We have big love for our friends.