More than 2,000 Valley veterans were again remembered at Christmas thanks to a program sponsored by Fresno Pacific University.
“Operation ‘Dear Veteran’” volunteers delivered the cards to VA hospitals and the Veterans Home of California. Each card was individually signed and contained a message to the veteran. Now in its third year, the effort has resulted in over 5,500 cards for veterans from individuals, families and groups.
“Both organizations were so thankful and we delivered the cards throughout the week-and-a-half before Christmas,” said Denise Baronian, FPU executive director of regional enrollment and head of the project. “Due to COVID, we were restricted once again from delivering them directly to the Veterans, but we are hopeful that next year will be different!”
Faculty and staff at each of FPU’s five campuses—Merced, North Fresno, the main campus in Southeast Fresno (including Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary), Visalia and Bakersfield—aided in the effort. But they had plenty of help, from card collections made by pre-schools, elementary schools, middle schools and high schools.
FPU has about 75 students who are veterans of the U.S. military. David Black, assistant director of operations and veteran support services, and others work to make sure they are served and feel included by the university. Black, past State Commander for AMVETS Department of California, has volunteered at Fresno VA Medical Center and knows how many local hospitalized veterans are alone at this time of year.
PHOTO: Denise Baronian and David Black deliver sacks of cards