Airmen, veterans share fellowship, stories during Valentine’s Day visit

Airmen from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base visited the Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center Feb. 14 to pass out valentines made by local elementary students to veterans during the annual Valentines for Vets event.

The volunteers distributed valentines to various clinics across the VA to former service members from all branches of the military.


“I think it’s a really good experience. Being new to the Air Force, they have a lot of knowledge behind them,” said Airman First Class Mariah Villadores. “One of the veterans was telling me about how he served in the war and the experiences and friendships that he had. I hope to one day have similar experiences.”

Airmen made their way around the clinics while listening to music from members of the Air Force Band of Flight. They played games and talked with veterans.

For one veteran, this Valentine’s Day was about reflecting on his own service while playing a game of checkers with one of the Wright-Patt Airmen.

“We talked about our service in the military, their current service and how much it means to them, and it lets me reflect back on how much it meant to me at that age,” said Michael Thompson Sr., a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Among the participants in the Valentines for Vets program was the 88th Air Base Wing Commander Col. Thomas Sherman and his wife, Laurie, who were both touched by the afternoon spent with the veterans.

“For me on a personal level, having now served almost 24 years in the Air Force and having had the opportunity to deploy, this is really heartfelt both on my level in my own service but also having a father who was a Vietnam veteran,” said Sherman. “Many of the stories these men are sharing are very similar to the stories that my dad has told. This has just been so impactful for my wife and me.”

Since 1989, Valentines for Vets has been about fellowship with those who have served before and bridging the gap to those who currently serve.

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