Each year we host a contest called Valentine’s for Vets in the community. Local schools take the time for their third, fourth, and fifth graders to create Valentine cards for Veterans. The contest winners are chosen based on creativity.

This year we had four schools participate in the contest including: Grace Lutheran, Elbert Elementary, Lake Shipp Elementary, and Carlton Palmore Elementary. These schools range from Winter Haven to Lakeland. We were astonished when we counted the Valentines and realized we had gathered 466 cards from the four participating schools. While this number is amazing, it of course made it very difficult to choose a winner.

After a few hours of going through each Valentine card, two winners were chosen. Cara Brinson of Grace Lutheran won first place in the contest. Her card was shaped like an eagle and included scripture and a short story for the Veteran who will receive her card. The second place winner was Arianna Petersen of Elbert Elementary. She created a card with a very unique design full of prayer and scripture. Both of the winners received a certificate signed from the Brooks Law Group, and a gift certificate to Target.

We were so overwhelmed at the success of this year’s Valentine’s for Vets event. The schools who participated really went above and beyond and took a great deal of time creating cards that were so meaningful. The cards have been taken to the VA Hospital in Tampa where they will be dispersed to Veterans this weekend for Valentine’s Day. We would like to extend a big thank you to all four schools that participated. Without you this wouldn’t have been possible.

If you would like more information on how your school can be involved in next year’s event please email Mikayla at [email protected] so that she can add you to our list of participants.

Steve was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. As was the practice for new doctors his father worked day and night during his medical residency at Charity Hospital there. Steve comes from a long line of doctors. His father, his grandfather, his great grandfather, even two uncles were all specialists and/or surgeons in their chosen medical specialties, including internal medicine specialist, obstetrics / gynecology, neurosurgery and general practice / surgery. His great-great grandfather was the Surgeon General of Ohio during the Civil War.