Feb 122009
 
Authors: Brian Anthony

Check out the CTV 11 News video about the Loveland Valentine Re-mailing Program below

During the first weeks of February, Post Offices across the nation find themselves flooded with Valentine’s Day love mail. But one Northern Colorado city has left its special mark on the holiday for decades.

Every year thousands of Valentine cards and letters are mailed to or purchased from Loveland and then re-mailed to the recipient with a little extra love attached in the form of a specialty stamp.

Valentine Coordinator for the Loveland Post Office Duane Kaye called the whole program altruistic.

“It’s something that makes you feel good because it’s a worthwhile cause of sending love to people worldwide,” Kaye said.

Senior English major Nina Sandfordt said the card is “a good idea.”

“Everyone needs something on Valentine’s Day,” she said. “If (people) want to take time to do it, it’s nice.”

Senders can mail their letters and cards inside an envelope addressed to the Loveland Post Office, which are then stamped with a cache, or commemorative stamp.

Kaye said people send interesting items other than regular mail, including sculptures.

“We’ve actually even had coconuts,” Kaye said. “There’s actually even been marriage proposals.”

A staff of more than 50 volunteers receives the envelopes from all 50 states and approximately 100 countries and re-sends each out from the “Sweetheart City.”

The original idea for the program started with a local Loveland stamp club, who approached the Elmer Ivers, postmaster for the city in 1946.

Kaye said the club brainstormed the idea to receive more stamps for the group, but ran into problems with getting the idea off the ground.

So Ivers communicated the idea to then Loveland Chamber of Commerce President Ted Thompson, who helped the program flourish.

“Once Ted took over he was a real showman and got it nationwide and, eventually, worldwide,” Kaye said.

Current Chamber of Commerce President Brian Willms agreed.

“Thompson was a great marketing person,” he said.

Each year, the Chamber hosts a contest to choose the design for the stamp, which the city features as its stamp and on the official City of Loveland Valentine’s Day card.

When the design is finalized, Miss Loveland Valentine — a contest created by Thompson and his wife Mabel in 1962 — is chosen from the three local schools to stamp the first parcel.

Kathryn Roth, the information coordinator for the Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, said, “The girl has to be involved in leadership activities in school and out. There is some scholarship money, so she has to be college bound.”

This year’s winner was Victoria Fischer from Thompson Valley High School, who plans on attending Notre Dame this fall.

Local King Soopers stores help the cause by collecting mail from costomers to send to Loveland. Last year the grocery chain collected approximately 70,000 cards, Kaye said.

Also, people can purchase a special Valentine created in Loveland.

Approximately 2,500 cards are sold each year according to the Loveland Chamber of Commerce.

Although the postmark date has passed for this year’s Valentine’s Day, letters and cards for next year can be sent to Postmaster Valentine Re-mailing at 446 E. 29th St., Loveland, CO 80538.

Staff writer Brian Anthony can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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