Tampa, Florida - In this era of emails and texts, the value of a hand-made card or handwritten note seems to have been lost, except among thousands of Hillsborough students. More than 15,000 Hillsborough students are making a difference in the lives of American soldiers this Valentine's Day.
"You are letting them know you appreciate what they are doing," teacher Susan Ferrell explains to a group of 6th graders.
Using construction paper, stamped cutouts of puppies, dolphins, manatees and hearts -- plus some creativity -- each of Dowdell Middle School's 650 students are sending a message from the heart to our American soldiers overseas.
Dowdell has taken part in the Hearts for Heroes project since 2006. Students make Valentine's Day cards for our military men and women and the US Postal Service makes sure they are delivered.
Farrell says, "We hope kids understand there are people out there fighting for our country, fighting for our freedom and yet a little thing like a card from a child in Tampa, Florida is important."
Along with the cards, soldiers will receive a Valentine's message of gratitude.
11-year-old Jose Soto writes, "Thank you for serving our country and protecting our freedom. Without you we would probably not be here. You guys are the best. You guys let us have our freedom. I want to be where you guys are today one day when I grow up. Thank you for everything you guys do for us."
Destiny Dickerson's message is simple: "Happy Valentine's Day. I know it doesn't mean a lot to say thank you... but Thank You!"
The US Postal Service office in Tampa sponsors the Hearts for Heroes annual letter writing project. So far this year, 78 schools are participating.