As he enters his last year in office, U.S. Congressman John Shimkus will wrap up a number of traditions. One of the most prominent is his Valentines for Heroes program.

"Since its beginning in 2008, Valentines for Heroes has continued to grow, year after year," Shimkus said, adding, "It has gotten to the point where people can't wait to get started. We begin to get calls immediately after the New Year wanting to know when we will be collecting. The answer is now."

The congressman's district offices will collect valentines for distribution throughout the region to veterans and active-duty military men and women. They may be dropped off or mailed by Friday, Feb. 7 to Shimkus at: 15 Professional Park Drive, Maryville, IL 62062; City Hall, Room 12, 110 East Locust Street, Harrisburg, IL 62946; or 201 North Vermilion Street, Suite 325, Danville, IL 61832.

They must be signed with first names only, should not include last names or addresses, and cannot be directed to a specific person or those of a specific faith. Candy and glitter are not allowed. Constituents may call the congressman's Maryville Office at 618-288-7190 with questions.

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