Valentine's Salute 2017 - VA Salt Lake City Health Care System
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Valentine's Salute 2017

Volunteer stuffs Valentine's Day goodie bag.

Volunteer stuffs Valentine's Day good bag as part of National Salute to Veterans Patients Week.

By Scott Maddix, Contributor
Saturday, February 18, 2017

Volunteers On Cupid's Team This Valentine's Day

50-plus volunteers adorned in red and pink turned out on Valentine’s Day as part of the National Salute to Veteran Patients Week. The Volunteers stuffed goodie bags with Valentine’s Day Card. The cards were hand-made by elementary students around Utah. On the other side of the room, single carnations filled a large basket, and bags of coiled lap blankets await a new owner. The blankets were hand-made by 125 male prisoners from Utah State Prison. All the donated goods were headed for Veterans of the George E. Wahlen Medical Center.

Keith Robinson, a fifty-six-year-old former Marine, was one of the helpers, and he rarely seemed to pause in his work.

“I've been doing this for a year and a half,” he said. “I work every holiday here. I always have fun. It's a pleasure to help out the Veterans.”

Robinson loaded bags into his mobility scooter and shuttled them across the room full of grateful people who all seem to know each other and enjoy the work. Friends wave and say “hello” stop for a selfie or two, then get back to it, always with a smile.

Mrs. Melba Wahlen surrounded by volunteers on Valentines Day.
Mrs. Melba Wahlen surrounded by volunteers during National Salute to Veteran Patients Week.


After the goodie bags were put together, the platoon of Volunteers hand delivered them to the hospital’s Veteran patients. Among those volunteers, Mrs. Melba Wahlen, widow to George E. Wahlen after whom the medical center is named, was a Veteran favorite. Veterans and Mrs. Wahlen exchanged stories—leaving many Veterans smiling, but with misty eyes.

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