Friday, February 23, 2018

Spreading the love

SENDING SMILES: Kevin Dillon, veterans outreach coordinator at Home Base

Veterans throughout the greater Boston area – and active duty service members abroad – received a little extra love this Valentine’s Day, thanks to the kindness and craftiness of the MGH Military Veteran Partners (MVP). Nearly 100 MGHers – some veterans themselves, some with veteran family members and friends, and others who just wanted to give back – attended the third annual Valentines for Veterans event Jan. 22, hosted by the MVP, to create handmade valentines to send to veterans.

“My brother is deployed in the Middle East right now, so it means a lot to me to be able to come to an event like this and give back,” says Jenn Ryan, associate director of Development. “I know a veteran’s sacrifice and how meaningful it can be to receive a homemade card. It’s so much more than just a simple valentine.”

As another way to get more MGHers, patients and visitors involved this year, the MVP also set up tables by Eat Street Café and Coffee Central to allow passersby to share their love. The roughly 500 handmade valentines were distributed to local area VA hospitals, the New England Center for Homeless Veterans, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and Home Base. Some also were sent overseas to troops currently serving in Afghanistan including Andy Gottlieb, FNP-BC, director of Occupational Health and a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves.

“This outpouring of giving is really amazing to me as a veteran myself, and I am so honored to be here and working with such amazing people,” says Christine Cugini, Development coordinator and MVP co-president. “To see the interest for this last and continue to grow after three years is awesome. Without the staff here, this wouldn’t be possible.”

Each year, the MGH joins national efforts during the week of Feb. 14 to recognize and thank the men and women of the armed services through activities such as the distribution of valentines.The MVP welcomes any MGH employee, both veterans and non-veterans, to their ranks. To learn more email MGHVETpartners@partners.org.



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