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Airmen receive Valentine’s Day cards from students

Airman 1st Class Meagan Mackie, 332nd Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management journeyman, reads a Valentine’s Day card, Feb. 14, 2017, in Southwest Asia. Students from Cape Cod, Massachusetts handcrafted cards for service members serving overseas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams)

Airman 1st Class Meagan Mackie, 332nd Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management journeyman, reads a Valentine’s Day card, Feb. 14, 2017, in Southwest Asia. Students from Cape Cod, Massachusetts handcrafted cards for service members serving overseas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams)

Master Sgt. Paul Roach, 332nd Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron assistant chief of training, reads a Valentine’s Day card, Feb. 14, 2017, in Southwest Asia. Students from Cape Cod, Massachusetts handcrafted cards for service members serving overseas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams)

Master Sgt. Paul Roach, 332nd Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron assistant chief of training, reads a Valentine’s Day card, Feb. 14, 2017, in Southwest Asia. Students from Cape Cod, Massachusetts handcrafted cards for service members serving overseas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams)

Airman 1st Class Meagan Mackie, 332nd Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management journeyman, reads a Valentine’s Day card, Feb. 14, 2017, in Southwest Asia. Students from Cape Cod, Massachusetts handcrafted cards for service members serving overseas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams)

Airman 1st Class Meagan Mackie, 332nd Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management journeyman, reads a Valentine’s Day card, Feb. 14, 2017, in Southwest Asia. Students from Cape Cod, Massachusetts handcrafted cards for service members serving overseas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams)

An Airman holds a box of Valentine’s Day cards, Feb. 14, 2017, in Southwest Asia. Students from Cape Cod, Massachusetts handcrafted cards for service members serving overseas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams)

An Airman holds a box of Valentine’s Day cards, Feb. 14, 2017, in Southwest Asia. Students from Cape Cod, Massachusetts handcrafted cards for service members serving overseas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams)

SOUTHWEST ASIA --

Valentine’s Day is usually a time to express love and care for friends and family. When service members find themselves far away from their loved ones they may miss out on this holiday’s traditional festivities. Thanks to students in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Airmen deployed in Southwest Asia received handmade Valentine’s Day cards.

Hearts for Heroes is an annual campaign during which students at Station Avenue Elementary School in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts, make handcrafted cards for service members. The 332nd Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron first sergeant’s child attends the school and participates in this program with this year being special with her mom deployed.

“Station Avenue Elementary will host an ‘all school meeting’ soon with pictures of our Airmen receiving the Valentines cards to be shown to the students,” said Master Sgt. Victoria Kenny, 332nd ECES first sergeant. “This will serve a ‘thank you’ from our Airmen to the students for the thought and care that went into creating the handmade and heartfelt Valentines.”

The deployed Airmen, working daily to integrate and support airpower in the region, were pleased to receive these gifts, expressed their gratitude and asked about ways to write back to the students.

“Receiving a Valentine's Day card from back home reminds me to fight for what I believe in and love,” said Staff Sgt. Timothy Cruz, 332nd ECES firefighter. “To receive it from a student and stranger lets me know that I’m in the best country in the world. We stand united.”

Maybe strangers at first, but then friends in the end thanks to the support given across the miles is a memory these service members will cherish on this Valentine’s Day and days to come.