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Cupid’s Helpers Ready Valentines For Troops

January 28, 1991

LOVELAND, Colo. (AP) _ Cupid’s helpers have aimed their arrows this Valentine’s Day on U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf.

On a Loveland post office assembly line, they are stamping love notes on Valentine’s Day cards. Kids in Conway, Ark., are sending thousands of cards. Everybody in Marshalltown, Iowa, is invited to sign a hugh valentine.

Loveland’s ″Operation Valentine″ aims to deliver a card to each of the more than 450,000 U.S. servicemen and women in the Middle East by Feb. 14.

″I feel like all of us have somebody over there,″ said Cathy Minter, the U.S. Postal Service employee in charge of Operation Valentine. ″Even if we don’t know them, it’s like all of us have a real stake in what’s going on over there.″

Dayton, Ohio, residents have launched ″Operation Support,″ which spokesman Dennis Geehan hopes will send up to 500,000 Valentine’s Day postcards to servicemen. The cards show stealth fighters dropping hearts.

Conway, Ark., schoolchildren are sending more than 18,000 Valentine’s Day cards to the 50 local men and women serving in the gulf. The project is called ″From Our Hearts To Yours.″

″I wanted to come up with a constructive means to lift the hearts in the community,″ said Carla Smith, the project sponsor.

Residents of Marshalltown, Iowa, are creating a huge valentine that townspeople are signing at the mall. Because of its size, the card will be photographed, and the photos will be sent to the 80 men and women from the area in the gulf.

In Oak Cliff, near Dallas, residents met at a restaurant Sunday to make five- and 10-minute valentine videotapes for people in the gulf.

″We just want people to come and take the tapes home and send them away,″ said Kim Kennedy, owner of Shooting Stars, the company that did the taping for free.

In Loveland - which calls itself ″The Sweetheart City″ - Ms. Minter has folded Operation Valentine into the Loveland Post Office’s 45th annual Valentine Remailing Program, expecting to handle 700,000 valentines from around the world.

Over the next two weeks, 100 volunteers will join postal employees in stamping a special cachet on valentines both for the troops and for romantics sending special messages to loved ones. The stamp is canceled with the words, ″Valentine Station Sending Love Worldwide,″ and a graphic of the world and a heart with the inscription, ″Loveland Feb. 14 1991 80538 CO.″

Since 1947, more than 7 million letters and cards have been stamped at the Loveland Post Office with a cachet written by Ted and Mabel Thompson of Loveland.

This year’s cachet reads: ″The Artistry of Cupid ... Brings home his Loveland Shrine ... The Thompsons’ 45th Cachet ... And this Special Valentine.″

Valentines headed for the Persian Gulf region should be received by the Loveland Post Office by Feb. 3, but workers will continue to process them after the deadline, Ms. Minter said.


Editor’s note: Valentines should be stamped and addressed to: Any Serviceperson, Operation Desert Storm, APO, N.Y. 09848-0006, for Army and Air Force personnel, and to Any Serviceperson, Operation Desert Storm, FPO, N.Y. 09866-0006, for Navy and Marines personnel. They should be bundled and mailed to: Postmaster, Attention Valentines, Loveland, Colo. 80538.

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