Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs launches statewide Happiness for Heroes Initiative; Requests public participation

The Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs, in partnership with Avalon Healthcare, launched the Happiness for Heroes campaign, which is designed to share messages of support and hope to residents of Utah’s four Veterans’ nursing homes.

Happiness for Heroes invites community members to share messages of gratitude and support to the more than 400 residents at the state’s Veterans homes in Ogden, Salt Lake City, Payson and Ivins.

“This has been a challenging time for all of us. Over the past several weeks, I think all of us have learned how hard it can be to be isolated,” said Jeff Hanson, deputy director of facilities for the Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs. “Our hope is that Happiness for Heroes will help combat the loneliness and boredom that our residents may be facing.”

The campaign launched Monday afternoon with messages from Governor Gary R. Herbert, Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox and the Utah Jazz.

Based on guidelines from government healthcare and infection control experts, Utah’s Veteran Homes have been closed to visitors since March 12, 2020. The homes’ closure to the public is one of the numerous steps taken to protect staff, veterans and visitors from exposure to COVID-19.

The Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs invites community members to rally their friends, family and coworkers to send messages of support and gratitude to the amazing veterans and their spouses who reside in the state’s veteran homes. Additionally, UDVMA encourages community members to share their messages of encouragement and gratitude with the healthcare professionals who work in each home.

The Utah Veterans Nursing Homes welcome the following forms of encouragement and well-wishes:

  • Videos
  • Letters
  • Postcards
  • Pictures
  • Artwork

Videos will be played for residents on each of the home’s closed-circuit TVs.

Anyone who would like to participate in Happiness for Heroes may email videos and other electronic well-wishes to [email protected].

Additionally, cards, letters or other materials may be sent in an unlicked envelope to ATTN: Happiness for Heroes, Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs, PO Box 581217, SLC UT 84158. Mail will be cleared by the homes’ infection prevention team before they are passed out to residents.

Submissions will also be shared on UDVMA’s website and social media channels. For more information, or to submit a Happiness for Heroes message online, visit veterans.utah.gov/happiness.