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Powhatan Senior Center Sending Valentines to Veterans, Troops Overseas

Photo Provided - Seniors at the Powhatan Point Senior Center and community members join in gathering Valentine’s Day gifts for troops overseas and in veterans hospitals as part of “Operation Valentine” through the Chambers and James Funeral Home in Wellsburg.

Seniors around Powhatan Point are sending Valentine’s Day greetings to troops overseas and veterans closer to home, and there is still time for others to contribute.

The Powhatan Senior Center spearheaded a collection of Valentine’s Day cards in the area. Mary Beth Tennant, director of the center, said many in the community participated as well. On Thursday they sent the cards to the Chambers and James Funeral Home in Wellsburg as part of the funeral home’s “Operation Valentine.”

“We had, I think, 115 Valentine cards that we sent,” Tennant said. “We had some community people brought in cards, too, around Powhatan.”

She added that the senior center and others in the area have sent messages of appreciation for past Valentine’s Days, but could not find a project.

“We did this a couple years ago,” Tennant said. “I couldn’t find anybody doing it for 2022.”

She eventually found the Chambers and James Funeral Home was planning an initiative.

“They were just collecting them for soldiers,” Tennant said.

Ellen Daugherty, administrative assistant at the funeral home, said the Valentines are always welcome.

“The ones that are going to be sent overseas, we like to get them sent out the very first part of February so that they will get to the soldiers right around Valentine’s Day. We realize there’s a little bit of a delay. In some parts the mail is air-dropped,” she said.

Daugherty added that other contributors include the schools in Brooke and Hancock counties.

“It’s been a very interesting project every year, and you’re getting it out to the people who are fighting for us,” she said. “Sometimes we do send to veterans groups. If there’s a lot that comes in at the last minute and we don’t have time to get them overseas, we will take them up to Pittsburgh to the veterans hospital.”

She said there have been some obstacles to participating this year, since some groups and organizations have not resumed in-person meetings.

Eric Fithyan, owner of the funeral home, said about 2,000 cards in all have been gathered so far. In some years they have sent out 3,000.

“We always get letters back (from the troops) thanking us and saying how much it really boosts their morale and they really enjoy it, because after Christmas there’s not much, and then they get this Valentine’s Day card,” Fithyan said.

He said Powhatan Point’s response was enthusiastic, adding that the senior center was the only contributor from Belmont County. But he said the area’s support for the military is strong.

“It’s one of our programs that kind of blow us away every year because there’s such a response from our community, from kids and seniors to adults. It’s amazing to see the support for our veterans and our active-duty troops,” Fithyan said.

To contribute, call 304-527-1717, 304-737-3551 or mail to 1030 Main St., Wellsburg, WV 26070 or 1245 Main St., Follansbee, WV 26037.

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