U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is starting off her Valentine’s Day with a stop at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in Miami to deliver more than 1,000 Valentine’s cards to injured vets.
This is the first year Mucarsel-Powell will participate in a “Valentine’s for Vets” event as a member of Congress. The push has gained popularity as a way to honor veterans for their sacrifice, which can often include long periods of separation from their families.
Mucarsel-Powell represents Florida’s 26th Congressional District, having won that seat in 2018. She’s not the only member of the Florida delegation to hold a Valentine’s for Vets event Friday. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist of Florida’s 13th Congressional District will make a similar stop at the Bay Pines Veterans Affairs Center in Pinellas County.
Rep. Mucarsel-Powell plans to visit the Bruce W. Carter VA Medical Center at 1201 N.W. 12th St. in Miami at 10:30 a.m Friday. Her district office says more than 1,000 cards have been crafted and delivered from at least 11 elementary schools around CD 26.
Those schools that have delivered cards include Campbell Drive K-8 Center, Christina M. Eve Elementary, Dr. Manuel C. Barreiro Elementary, Florida City Elementary, Laura C. Saunders Elementary, Leisure City K-8 Center, Norma Butler Bossard Elementary, Olympia Heights Elementary, R.R. Moton Elementary, South Miami Heights Elementary and West Homestead K-8 Center.
Mucarsel-Powell will deliver the handmade cards to veterans being cared for at the VA facility. According to Mucarsel-Powell’s office, the Miami VA Health Care System serves approximately 58,000 Veterans a year and sees between 2,000 and 3,000 Veterans per day.
Stories have documented the Valentine’s for Vets tradition across the country. In addition to creating cards, some individuals choose to donate goods to veterans in need, including toiletries, groceries or other in-demand items.
The Florida Department of Veterans Affairs estimates 20 million veterans are living in the United States as of 2017. Florida alone is home to more than 1.5 million of those service members.