With a knock on the door, George Olscamp got a welcome surprise on Monday when he saw three members of HMCS Queen Charlotte delivering a Valentine’s Day card.
“That’s a real treat,” said Olscamp, 99, a resident at the Mount Continuing Care Community residence in Charlottetown. “That’s wonderful … This is very nice of you boys.”
The Mount was one of four stops on Monday by HMCS Queen Charlotte members Leading Seaman Daniel Scott, Ordinary Seaman Clark Upton and Spencer Lee, unit public affairs officer, for the annual Valentines for Vets initiative. Earlier in the day, they visited Riverview Manor, Dr. John Gillis Memorial Lodge and Andrews of Stratford.
Valentines for Vets began on Friday and continued until Tuesday. More than 300 cards were made by 10 classes of students at Stratford Elementary School for the veterans.
Olscamp’s blue card with a red heart thanked him for his service, adding “You rule.”
Veterans Affairs Canada launched Valentines for Vets in 1989. HMCS Queen Charlotte has been involved with the initiative for the past four years, said Lee.
Prior to making the cards, HMCS Queen Charlotte members visited Stratford Elementary to talk with students about veterans and their service to Canada.
“They’re actually writing valentines that are going to be read by veterans, which gets them interested about World War One and World War Two in class, and they can have that direct connection,” said Lee.
Scott, from Murray River, has been a part of HMCS Queen Charlotte for four years. He is preparing to leave for British Columbia next week and then off to Latvia for a deployment.
“For as long as they need me,” he said. “I’m very excited about that.”
He said it’s a great experience to meet the veterans and hand out Valentine’s Day cards, especially to see their reaction when the members walk into the room.
“It’s just so uplifting to them,” he said.
A flu outbreak at the Mount limited the areas the members could visit on Monday.
But, they were able to deliver a card to 98-year-old Blanche MacAleer.
“Army men,” she exclaimed when the door opened. “Navy men,” replied Lee.
In May, MacAleer was part of a flag raising ceremony at the Cornwall Civic Centre to commemorate the Battle of the Atlantic and honour the memory of her late husband and two brothers who fought in the Second World War.
Another member of HMCS Queen Charlotte, Master Seaman David MacPherson, grew up beside MacAleer in Stratford and told the members that she recently moved to the Mount.
“That’s very sweet of you,” she said when Lee handed her the Valentine’s Day card. “This is extra special.”
She chatted with the members about the mild winter and the value of good health.
“I’m glad to see you boys,” she said. “I’m always glad to see handsome people.”