HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP)– An annual Veteran’s Day tradition continued in Holyoke on Wednesday.

Over a thousand letters from local students from over 15 different schools in Westfield, West Springfield, Southampton, Easthampton, and Agawam were delivered to the Veterans Home in Holyoke by State Senator John Velis.

Velis began the letter writing campaign four years ago as a way to show support for veterans by their community. The effort has been expanded by sharing the letters with Bags for Bravery, a care package program for veterans and deployed troops organized by Westfield High School Junior Jillian Battles. 

“I am proud to partner with countless teachers in our district to continue this tradition of sharing these heartfelt letters with the residents of the Veterans’ Home and this year, also with Bags for Bravery,” said Senator Velis (D-Westfield). “Each year we collect over a thousand letters, each created by students of various ages who had the opportunity to learn and reflect about the importance of Veterans Day. I am thrilled that these letters will not only bring smiles to the faces of the residents at the Veterans’ Home but also will be shared with our active military members serving overseas thanks to Jillian Battles’ work initiative.” 

“I make my bags for bravery as a thank you for those who served and continue to serve our country and protect its freedom- the cards from the kids give them that extra love from home,” shared Jillian Battles, a Junior at Westfield High School.  “The beautiful drawings and heartfelt messages are very special and add to the needed appreciation for those who don’t receive it as they should.”