Thousands of Valentine's poured into nursing homes to shower seniors with love this year.

Operation Valentine, an idea from nursing home resident Thomas Phillips, who got a little help from Ky Reardon, succeeded beyond everyone's wildest dreams.

More than 7,400 Valentine's were sent to over 3,600 residents at 33 facilities in 9 states. "This does not include individuals, groups or the business Cupids who made direct deliveries to a specific facility," said Reardon.

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Operation Valentines started in Rome, New York for Oneida County Nursing Homes. "It quickly spread across New York state to other counties, reaching as far as London and Sri Lanka," said Reardon, who heard from so many people at area businesses, church groups, local organizations and schools. "Thank you for getting the story out first. The story and broadcast mention got the ball rolling and it never stopped."

"I am extremely humbled and also honored to have worked with on this worthwhile endeavor," said Reardon. "Everyone had a reason for wanting to participate and every reason was a different one. Some shared stories with me that caused tears no one ever saw run down my face, others amazed me with their strength and determination to play a part, despite having jobs, children or personal issues. For everyone of you, it held a special meaning."

Now, more than ever, our nursing home residents, who have been cooped up for almost a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, could use a little extra love to know they are not forgotten.

With all this snow in central New York, maybe we should all start building snowmen outside their windows.

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