December 16, 2017 01:25 AM
(KSTP) -- A project that started as a way to thank veterans last month is also giving them the gift of appreciation as Christmas approaches.
"Dear Veteran, thank you for your service. You are so brave. Thanks for serving in our war," WWII Navy Veteran John said, reading a letter sent to him from a child in Minnesota.
At the Minneapolis Veterans Home, residents are receiving letters of love, straight from the hands of children.
"If we didn't have you here right now, this wouldn't be a happy country," read Carl, a WWII Navy veteran.
"You are the best, if it was not for you, we would be dead." another child wrote.
The letters are part of a veteran's day campaign by the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs. They expected hundreds. They got many more.
"There's just thousand of letters that have come in. Originally when we talked about this maybe we'll get a couple hundred letters, but there's thousands of letters that have come in. So that's really cool," said Mike McElhiney with the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs.
Some of the letters bring a smile. Others go straight to the heart and bring tears.
"Thank you for the freedom you have given us, sincerely Betsy... 5th grade from Minnesota. Boy that is..." an emotional John said.
Either way, these vets were feeling the love and a connection to the kids who wrote them.
"This young lady, she's a dandy, I'd like to meet her," Ralph said. "First of all, I'd tell her I love her because of who she is. If it was my child, I'd be proud."
"I'd like to save something nice to her because she sure got me," John said reacting to a letter he received.
Feeling the appreciation they deserve, but don't hear every day.
"Well it's very nice to hear from somebody like that," a grateful Carl said.
Updated: December 16, 2017 01:25 AM
Created: December 15, 2017 11:03 PM
Copyright 2017 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company