PTSD vets get special valentines from Youngstown kids

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Tavan Sallie, left, and Kamille Moore, fourth graders at Youngstown’s Taft Elementary School, show off the valentines they wrote and sent to soldiers at the Department of Veterans of Affairs Medical Center in Pittsburgh’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinic.

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Peggy Yuhas, a tutor at Youngstown’s Taft Elementary School, organized a project involving Taft fourth-graders writing valentines to soldiers at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Pittsburgh.

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Fourth-graders at Taft Elementary School used valentines as a way to thank veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Pittsburgh.

The students in Laurie McEwan’s class wrote Valentine’s Day letters to the men housed at the medical center’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder clinic.

“You are a hero to me” and a “man who fought for glory,” Tavan Sallie, 9, wrote in his valentine.

“Thank you for doing your duty in Vietnam,” Kamille Moore, 10, wrote. “When I say the Pledge in school I think of your service in Vietnam.”

Valentine recipients range from World War II veterans to those who served in more recent conflicts.

The project was the idea of Peggy Yuhas, a parity tutor at the school. Her grandson was a patient at the clinic after serving in Afghanistan.

Last year, she suggested the class send valentines to the men at the clinic. A social worker sent a thank-you letter back with signatures from many patients.

“I thought it would be good this year to have the children write a letter to someone specifically,” Yuhas said.

She used the names from the letter the service members wrote to the school last year, and each student wrote to a particular person.

“I think it was better this year because we had the names,” she said.

About 20 valentines were mailed to the medical center from the school last week.

Tavan said he hopes the soldier who gets his valentine is “proud of himself.”

“I wrote that I’m grateful he served in the war and he brought freedom for the whole country,” he said.

Kamille asked her valentine’s recipient about his time in the military and told him she appreciates his service.

When he reads her letter, she hopes “he’s happy that someone actually honors him and thinks he’s a leader,” she said.

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