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Sending love overseas

J.C. Harwell and Son Funeral Home owners Tommy Davis and wife Mary Evelyn participated in Operation Valentine, asking area students to create hand-made valentine cards to be sent to troops overseas. (Staff photo: Jessicah Peters)

J.C. Harwell and Son Funeral Home owners Tommy Davis and wife Mary Evelyn participated in Operation Valentine, asking area students to create hand-made valentine cards to be sent to troops overseas. (Staff photo: Jessicah Peters)

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The hand-made Valentine’s Day cards were sent to Senior Airman David Leifels of Covington. J.C. Harwell and Son Funeral Home sent the more than 600 cards last week so troops could have love letters from home. (Staff photo: Jessicah Peters)

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Area students participated in Operation Valentine with J.C. Harwell and Son Funeral Home by making Valentine’s Day cards to send to troops. Each card was personalized in efforts to give troops an encouraging love note from home. (Staff photo: Jessicah Peters)

COVINGTON – To spread the love across the seas, Tommy Davis, owner of J.C. Harwell and Son Funeral Home, asked area schools to participate in Operation Valentine.

Students from Newton, Gwinnett, Henry and Walton counties penned encouraging words on hand-made valentines to the troops currently serving overseas.

Davis said it’s the first time the funeral home has been involved with the program, which is a Veterans and Family Memorial Care initiative.

“Soldiers are overseas, away from family, protecting our freedom, and I think it will just mean the world to them to get something like this from home,” Davis said. “Valentine’s Day is pretty special for anyone and hard to be away from loved ones on that day, but through the program they receive something from home that lets them know they’re in our hearts. It’s a great program to get the community involved with. It’s heart-warming.”

The funeral home collected more than 600 cards and shipped them to the troops on Feb. 7. The cards are being sent to Senior Airman David Leifels of Covington, the son of Kathy and stepfather Billy Bouchillon, and Craig and stepmother Ruth Leifels of Nashville, Tenn.

“We’re asking David to share these cards with fellow soldiers and truly hope that they get as much joy from receiving the cards as the kids did from making them,” said Davis, who is also Newton County’s coroner.

But Operation Valentine is not the only initiative the Veterans and Family Memorial Care has to support the troops. J.C. Harwell and Son Funeral Home is also involved with the cell phones for soldiers program.

Those who want to donate old mobile phones can drop them off at the funeral home, located at 2157 East St. in Covington. Davis said the donated phones are recycled to provide cost-free communication services to active-duty military members and veterans.

Once December arrives again, Davis plans to get involved with the Stockings for Soldiers program and collect items to send troops for Christmas.