SHELTON — Congressman Jim Himes has announced his ninth annual “Valentines for Vets” program which collects valentines made by Fourth District constituents of all ages and delivers them to local veterans.

This year’s valentines will be taken to the local VA hospital, Homes for the Brave in Bridgeport, and other veterans service organizations in the Fourth District. Himes traditionally visits a participating school to make cards with students, and veterans accompany him to share stories about their service.

“I have seen how appreciative veterans are when someone sincerely thanks them for their service. Veterans I have spoken with are incredibly grateful for the many thoughtful cards they received,” said Himes. “This is a great opportunity for kids and local residents to learn about the sacrifice our men and women in uniform make while showing our veterans they are always in our thoughts.”

Robert Kozlowsky, a Shelton police lieutenant and nearly 20-year veteran of the force, was recently named board chair of Homes for the Brave, a Bridgeport-based operation that has served more than 1,200 homeless men and women, mostly veterans, with housing, vocational training and life skills coaching.

“This gesture shows our veterans that they are valued and never forgotten,” said Kozlowsky. “We are grateful to Congressman Himes, a longtime advocate for Homes for the Brave, and the community for taking the time to let our veterans know that their service to our country is appreciated.”

Last year, more than 65 schools participated in Himes’ “Valentines for Vets” program.

Those who would like to participate in the "Valentines for Veterans" project are asked to contact Joshua Rodriguez at Joshua.Rodriguez@mail.house.gov or call 203-333-6600. Valentines may be mailed or dropped off to Himes’ Bridgeport office at 211 State St., Floor 2, Bridgeport, CT 06604 by 5 p.m. on Feb. 7.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com