SSF Senior Citizens’ ‘Operation Valentine’ Sends 1,400 Handmade Cards to California Servicemen and Women

February 14, 2017

For Immediate Release – Office of State Senator Jerry Hill – February 14, 2017

SSF Senior Citizens’ ‘Operation Valentine’ Sends 1,400 Handmade Cards to
California Servicemen and Women

Magnolia Senior Center Tops Its Record Once Again In Ninth Annual Crafts Project
With California Military and Senator Jerry Hill

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO –California National Guard soldiers deployed overseas and those serving in units closer to home in Mountain View and Sacramento received 1,400 handmade valentines from South San Francisco senior citizens as part of the Magnolia Senior Center’s ninth annual crafts project with the California National Guard and state Senator Jerry Hill.

The Magnolia Center seniors have become known for their festive valentines expressing thanks and encouragement to the California National Guard, said Major Shannon Terry of the California Military Department in Sacramento and Lieutenant Jorge Barriere of the 129th Rescue Wing in Mountain View.

“It’s so meaningful when we receive handmade, handwritten mail,” Major Terry told South San Francisco seniors at the Magnolia Center on a recent Friday as they finished their stacks of valentines. Deployed in Iraq in 2006, she received a letter from a little girl and recalled the moving experience. “I didn’t know her, she didn’t know me, I may never meet her, but I’ll remember her letter,” said Major Terry, adding that the memory has inspired her to join the Magnolia Center seniors for their annual project whenever she can.

Two other Army National Guard soldiers and four airwomen from the 129th Rescue Wing joined Major Terry and Lieutenant Barriere at the Magnolia Center this year. South San Francisco Councilmembers Karyl Matsumoto and Richard Garbarino and Parks and Recreation Commissioner Richard Holt and several volunteers also took up scissors, glitter and glue sticks.

“This is truly a South San Francisco signature event,” said Laura Gigi, the center’s program coordinator, noting that the Unity Lutheran Church of South San Francisco has been a community partner in the event for three years.

Senator Hill thanked the members of the California National Guard for their service as well as the South City seniors, who try to top their valentine output each year. “Thanks to the Magnolia Center’s Operation Valentine, South San Francisco and its Magnolia seniors are known as the city with the heart, the city that supports our California National Guard,” Senator Hill said. “No matter where they might be deployed, Guardsmen and women from California get a valentine from the Magnolia Center seniors, who send their love and thanks to the California troops.”

The valentines project began in 2009 while Senator Hill was a member of the state Assembly. He served as staff sergeant in the California Army National Guard from 1966 to 1972.

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Media Contacts:
Leslie Guevarra, Office of Senator Jerry Hill, 415-298-3404 cell, leslie.guevarra@sen.ca.gov
Laura Gigi, South San Francisco Magnolia Center, 650-829-3820, laura.gigi@ssf.net
Staff Sergeant Salli Sablan, California Military Department, 916-854-3794, salli.s.sablan.mil@mail.mil