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Sailors deliver Valentine cards to veterans living in P.E.I. nursing homes

Roy MacNeill, a veteran who lives in the Garden Home in Charlottetown, was deeply touched to receive Valentine's Day cards hand-delivered by sailors from HMCS Charlottetown. The cards, which were made by Stratford Elementary students, were delivered Friday to veterans in several long-term care facilities on P.E.I. JIM DAY/THE GUARDIAN
Roy MacNeill, a veteran who lives in the Garden Home in Charlottetown, was deeply touched to receive Valentine's Day cards hand-delivered by sailors from HMCS Charlottetown. The cards, which were made by Stratford Elementary students, were delivered Friday to veterans in several long-term care facilities on P.E.I. JIM DAY/THE GUARDIAN

The Valentine's Day gesture warmed the heart of veteran Roy McNeill.

McNeill, 78, who served in the Canadian Army for 11 years, was touched deeply by sailors from HMCS Charlotte delivering cards to him and other veterans living in long-term care facilities across Prince Edward Island.

“I think it is a good thing,’’ the Charlottetown native said after reading the several cards he was given early Friday afternoon.

Asked if he plans to hold on to the Valentine cards, which were made by students at Stratford Elementary when sailors visited their classrooms to talk about the importance of remembering veterans year-round, McNeill was too overcome with emotion to reply.

He managed only to nod as his eyes teared up and a tremble of a grin creased his face.

Master Seaman Alesia Chiasson speaks with veteran Fred Fredrickson at the Garden Home in Charlottetown on Friday. It was one of several long-term care facilities that Chiasson and other sailors from HMCS Charlotte visited to deliver Valentine's Day cards to veterans. JIM DAY/THE GUARDIAN
Master Seaman Alesia Chiasson speaks with veteran Fred Fredrickson at the Garden Home in Charlottetown on Friday. It was one of several long-term care facilities that Chiasson and other sailors from HMCS Charlotte visited to deliver Valentine's Day cards to veterans. JIM DAY/THE GUARDIAN

 

Bryce Boswell who, like McNeill, is a resident of the Garden Home in Charlottetown, praised the initiative.

“That’s pretty decent,’’ says Boswell, 86, who served in the U.S. Army with the 82nd Airborne for three years in the early 1950s.

Boswell grew up in Victoria, P.E.I., but was born in New York while his mother was visiting the city, making him a dual citizen of Canada and the United States.

Master Seaman Alesia Chiasson from HMCS Charlotte says the personal deliveries by Royal Canadian Naval personnel in uniform were well received by veterans in the 11 long-term care facilities visited on P.E.I.

“We had one veteran in particular today that was so happy to see us, she asked us to please come back,’’ says Chiasson.

“We told her this is an annual thing, we will be back. She told us ‘no, you need to come back sooner.’’’

Chiasson, 31, says the visits were a great opportunity for her to hear the veterans share stories from their service, both happy and not-so-happy memories.

“So, we’ve heard a wide range of things – things that we know we should really be thankful to not have to deal with,’’ she says.

“It’s been a really great and eye-opening experience. I’ve definitely learned a lot from them.’’

Twitter: @PEIGuardian

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