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Brentwood funeral home gathers Valentines made for soldiers

| Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, 9:02 p.m.

More than 300 U.S. soldiers deployed in Afghanistan will receive hand-drawn cards from children and “thank yous” from World War II veterans this Valentine's Day.

The John F. Slater Funeral Home in Brentwood gathered more than 400 cards — mailing 300 to deployed troops and more than 100 slated to go to those at veterans hospitals — from children to retirees through Operation Valentine.

“We know how hard it is to be away from home ... we just wanted to show that we're here and the community supports them,” said Christine Crompton, outreach and aftercare coordinator at the funeral home. “I was expecting to see a big kid response, but also had some World War II veterans thanking them for their service. It was very sweet.”

This is the first time the funeral home collected cards for Operation Valentine. Crompton still is accepting cards, which will go to those at veterans hospitals, she said.

Slater Funeral Home is a member of the Veterans & Family Memorial Care, a network of funeral providers around the country that support veterans. Operation Valentine was a suggested program for funeral providers in the network this winter.

“I loved the idea,” Crompton said. “We had a fantastic response.”

The funeral home is working with Military Connections, a nonprofit organization in Pittsburgh that sends equipment, care packages and supplies to military personnel abroad, for Operation Valentine. The funeral home works with Military Connections and in-borough nonprofit Brentwood Cares regularly to provide support to soldiers abroad.

The funeral home also accepts gently used cellular phones to give available minutes to soldiers abroad, and tattered or worn American flags to retire, Crompton said.

Laura Van Wert is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5814 or at lvanwert@tribweb.com.

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