Readying handmade Valentines and bookmarks for residents of the Veterans Home in Ventura are (left to right) Francine Pinheiro, Mary Ann McCann, Judy Monje, Virginia Tabaraz, Sheryl Gilmartin and Ethel Parana. The women all live at the Santa Paulan Senior Complex where their Activities Committee has been creating the veterans’ greetings for years.

Santa Paulan Activities Committee creates Valentines for veterans

February 08, 2017
Santa Paula News

Half a dozen Santa Paula women just finished more than 60 handmade, custom Valentines and bookmarks that will be delivered February 13 to the California Veterans Home in Saticoy to show those that served that they are considered sweethearts. Completed in December 2009, the home is a 60-bed assisted living facility.

Virginia Tabaraz of Santa Paula said the annual making and delivery of Valentine’s by residents of The Santa Paulan Senior Living complex started four years ago. 

“That’s when Ernestine Watson moved over here from Ventura,” after her husband, a veteran, passed. 

“She and her husband had been very big, very active with the Ventura VFW, and she had friends at the home in Saticoy. One day we were just talking about Valentine’s Day,” and the idea came to the women to make and deliver greeting cards to the veterans.

Alas, Watson passed away in October, but the women — The Santa Paulan Activities Committee — decided to keep the effort going in her memory as well as to show their appreciation of the veterans. Mary Ann McCann is the Chairwoman of the Santa Paulan Activities Committee and Tabaraz is the Newsletter Editor. 

Francine Pinheiro, McCann, Judy Monje, Tabaraz, Sheryl Gilmartin and Ethel Parana met for two, four-hour workshops where they made Valentine’s and bookmarks with supplies purchased at the 99¢ Store, Dollar Tree and other outlets.

“All contribute a little something,” for the supplies. “We work with stickers and doilies and lace and felt, lots of glue and stuff. They’re all done and we have them out letting the glue dry,” and ready for the February 13 delivery.

On February 14, said Tabaraz, each veteran will have a “Homemade Valentine and bookmarks on their tray…each Valentine has a saying and affectionate greeting. They’re homemade with lace,” for that traditional look, and offer “great sentiments. We also take the veterans magazines and board games, things like that.”

And the veterans enjoy the recognition said Lynda Griffin, the Veterans Home Activities Director. 

“The residents,” she noted, “really appreciate the support of the local community remembering them during special holidays such as Valentine’s Day.”

And, said Tabaraz, there is more to come: “We enjoy it, I enjoy it so much,” from creating the greetings to delivering them with McCann. “We would like to do more for more holidays. Everybody does everything for Christmas but there are other holidays and special occasions, too. We can’t take food to the veterans but these cheerful little things are always appreciated.”

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