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Klein, Miss Teen USA, students salute vets

Senator Jeff Klein joined the boys and girls of P.S. 14, the S.U.N.Y. Maritime Color Guard, and Stevi Perry – Miss Teen U.S.A. – in a celebration of the National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans on Friday, February 13 at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center.

The 31st annual nationwide celebration lasts a week and coincides with Valentines Day. It is a time of special thanks during which the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Kingsbridge Heights and those around the country invite local elected officials, celebrities, and school children to visit the hospitals and bring the patients some Valentines Day cheer.

“As our military forces make tremendous sacrifices in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is important that we recognize those who made their own many years ago – in Germany, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and elsewhere,” Klein said.

VA Medical Center director Mary Ann Musumeci said the salute to our nation’s heroes, most of whom were confined to the nursing home wing or undergoing treatment at the hospital is a time for veterans, hospital volunteers which number 668 strong, and the doctors, nurses and staff to let the vets know just how much they are appreciated.

“We’re excited to welcome back Senator Klein and the boys and girls of P.S. 14,” Musumeci said. “Their presence, along with Miss Teen U.S.A., heightens the celebration and brings a special note of cheer to our veterans.”

The hospital is located at 130 W. Kingsbridge Road, and volunteers are an essential component of its opeations, donating over 45,000 hours of their precious time to the people who help keep our nation strong and free.

“The National Salute program is a great way for people to learn more about the helping the veterans we serve,” Musumeci said. “Visitors are surprised at how varied the volunteer opportunities are.”

Klein spent some time after the event visiting the bedsides of veterans too frail to attend the celebration.

“The sacrifice our brave veterans have made for this country should be commended 365 days a year – not just on Veterans Day,” Senator Klein stated. “That is why I think it is so important to bring our entire community – especially our children – together to salute these veterans’ service to our nation.”

Individuals interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities within the V.A. are encouraged to call the office of Voluntary Services at (718) 584 – 9000, ext. 5473 or 5474.

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