Himes And Stamford Students Honor Vets With Valentines

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Phil Kraft, a Vietnam veteran, talks with Joshua Stenbergh as he writes a Valentine to a veteran. Photo Credit: Anthony Buzzeo
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes gives students tips while they make Valentines. Photo Credit: Anthony Buzzeo
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes and veteran Phil Kraft share some history lessons with students at K.T. Murphy Elementary School in Stamford. Photo Credit: Anthony Buzzeo
Students were excited to meet U.S. Rep. Jim Himes. Photo Credit: Anthony Buzzeo
Joshua Stenbergh, 9, decided to give his Valentine right to Phil Kraft, a veteran of the Vietnam War. Photo Credit: Anthony Buzzeo

STAMFORD, Conn. — Stamford students got a dose of history during their art class Monday afternoon when U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-4, and Vietnam War veteran Phil Kraft stopped by K.T. Murphy Elementary School.

The elementary students were making Valentines to give veterans.

“There is hope,” Kraft, a Darien resident, said of seeing the children make the Valentines.

He said he thought it was wonderful that the students cared for total strangers, and said receiving a Valentine may help veterans know they’re loved. Kraft explained that 20 percent of suicides are veterans, and hopes acts like the cards the students made will give some hope.

“Any tiny thing, at any time, may make a difference,” he said.

Kraft did not mention suicide to the students but explained how some veterans feel lonely. He said soldiers fighting overseas look forward to the mail coming in and receiving a letter from home.

“It made us so happy to know some one cared,” he said.

Kraft, who served in the U.S. Army, now works as the executive director of National Veterans Services Fund, a group that helps provide social services and limited medical help to Vietnam and Persian Gulf veterans and their families.

After receiving a history lesson and question and answer session from Himes and Kraft, the students created their Valentines designing and coloring hearts, with special written messages thanking the veterans. The students cards will be sent to local veterans hospitals and organizations. Some will also be sent abroad, Himes said. 

Himes began the Valentines for Veterans program his first year in office and has continued it to help the veterans and teach the students that there are people serving now.

“Their eyes go wide,” the congressman said explaining the students’ reactions to the veterans’ stories.

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