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Ronan hangs hearts, honors loved ones

RONAN — This February and March, the Ronan Downtown Main Street Beautification Project is sprucing up Main Street one heart at a time. Patrons of the Ronan Flower Mill can purchase a pink heart for a deceased loved one any time between now and St. Patrick’s Day.

The name of the individual is written on a heart with or without glitter and then hung on trees along Main Street.

The beautification project is also creating a display of patriotism this Valentine’s season, by hanging hearts on four trees along Main Street for each individual serving in the military from this area. 

Though you can purchase a heart for a deceased friend or family member for $2, the military hearts are on the house.

The display of military hearts is to show gratitude that the citizens of Ronan have for those serving our country abroad or at home, Ronan Flower Mill owner and coordinator of the project Ronna Walchuk explained. 

She notes that local veterans really appreciate the gesture. 

“The elderly veterans are so grateful,” Walchuk said. “It makes them feel so good to see something like that.” 

On Monday evening, Walchuk grabbed Jeff Brown, who happened to be passing by, to help her reach the tallest branches of the trees. The veteran was eager to help hang the Valentine military hearts and was enthusiastic when told about the project.

“It’s a nice way to show we appreciate them,” Brown said. 

“(We) wish they would come to the VFW after they get back.”

Brown, who is quartermaster at the Ronan VFW post 5652, went on to mention the numerous services that the VFW provides for veterans. 

The VFW is also a place where the community can socialize and hold events, including the upcoming breakfast on Saturday morning. The VFW holds a breakfast on the first Saturday of every month and collects donations from people who attend. Members of the community can chow down on hash browns, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, eggs any way you like them, and more. 

The VFW also holds soup dinners on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Besides community events, the VFW’s primary focus is its services to the veterans in the community. 

“Our biggest service is to let them talk and say whatever they have to say,” Brown explained. 

But before they come home, Ronan’s hearts and thoughts are with them, wherever they are. 

The proceeds from the hearts that are sold will go to fund the Ronan Downtown Main Street Beautification Project. Members of Lake County with friends and relatives who are also from the area and presently serving in the military are encouraged to call the Ronan Flower Mill at 676-5323, to make sure their loved one has a free heart hanging in a tree. 

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