NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Colegrove Park Elementary School children spent part of last week creating some big, colorful Valentine's Day cards.
Not for their families or classmates but to show their appreciation for the city's first-responders.
On Tuesday morning, three student representatives — Tyler Haskins, Nick Sacco and Stephen Cornell — and retired teacher Anna Saldo Burke delivered boxes of valentines to the police, firefighters and ambulance service.
"It's to thank the North Adams Police, and the firefighters and EMTs for their service to the city," said Nick, as the group waited for Sgt. James Burdick to accept the box of cards for a photograph.
"They've put some very nice drawings inside and we really appreciate that they have respect for the job we do," Burdick said in thanking the children. "It's a tough job to do and we appreciate they took time out of their day to make these for us."
The three boys, all sixth-graders at Colegrove, also delivered boxes to the Fire Station, where they received some firefighting swag like pencils, and to the North Adams Ambulance Service, where they scored some "poop" emoji goodies.
Saldo Burke called the boys her three Musketeers, whom she had had in her third-grade class at the former Sullivan School. They'd been involved in some of her other community projects, which have included the Hearts for Heroes cards to servicemen and women, Christmas decorations for the Soldiers Home in Holyoke and the annual Memorial Day event at the school.
"[Grades 6/7 teacher] Wendy Nelson said they were always looking at ways to involve them in the community and to show empathy, especially at this developing age level," said Saldo Burke. "And this is sort of something I've done for years ... I asked them if they were interested because I've done the Hearts for Heroes project for troops and they said absolutely and we made it happen."
She and the boys said the other grades were excited last week in creating the valentines, making sure there was one for every member of the two departments and the ambulance service. Students in fifth-grade did some 50 valentines for the ambulance; sixth-graders made cards for the Fire Department and seventh grade made the ones for the Police Department.
Saldo Burke wrote a personal letter each to Fire Director Stephen Meranti, Police Director Michael Cozzaglio and ambulance General Manager John Meaney Jr. explaining the project and thanking them.
The cards said it all: "Thank you for protecting our city/thank you for keeping us safe."
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