February 10, 2023: Ms. Hoffman’s class in room 15 at Garfield Elementary were treated to a special visit and a story from Assemblyman Jim Patterson last Friday, as he stopped by to pick up the Valentine’s Day cards made by the children.
The “Valentines for Vets” program was created by Assemblyman Patterson to give tokens of appreciation to Veterans recovering in Fresno’s VA hospital and those resting in the Veterans Home during this holiday of love and gratitude.
Assemblyman Patterson shared kind words of gratitude on behalf of the Veterans who receive the cards every year.
“Thank you for this,” Patterson said to the class, ”and know that you have sent these cards of appreciation and love to people who, when the time came, they defended our country and the liberties, rights, and privileges of being American citizens so that you can be in a safe, prosperous country.”
Feeling inspired by the moment, Patterson decided to treat Ms. Hoffman’s class to a personal story, about his adopted son Brian James (B.J.).
Patterson told the class how two U.S. Army soldiers found B.J. during Operation Babylift and took him to safety. He also shared that the family celebrated B.J.’s 50th birthday last week.
“Soldiers risked themselves, for this little guy,” Patterson said. “Every time I get the chance to talk to Vietnam Veterans, I tell this story about BJ because, look what they did, risking themselves picking up this little guy.”
The entire school participated in making over 800 Valentines for Veterans. The point, according to Patterson, is to give our Veterans a handmade gift that came from the young children who benefit from their sacrifices. The thoughtful and creative cards are very impactful, according to Patterson.
“Many of these will be on the bedside,” Patterson said to the students, “many of these will be taken home and put in a special place, and many of these are saved year after year.”