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Kelly Smith, Published February 05 2009

West Fargo kindergartners send valentines to soldiers

A chorus of West Fargo kindergartners made it known that their early Valentine’s Day party on Wednesday was for more than just heart stickers and free chocolate cupcakes.

It was Noah’s party.

The party was held for 5-year-old Noah Mallory, who is a little bummed that his father, Gordon Mallory, a gunner with the North Dakota Army National Guard, will likely be redeployed overseas.

“I didn’t want him to leave,” Noah said quietly.

So, his name was entered in a local business’ contest to host a party to make valentines for soldiers like his father.

“I started crying when he said, ‘I just want to make these valentines for my dad … because my heart is going to be hurting as soon as he goes,’ ” said MJ Krogh of Liberty Tax Service, which provided the supplies. “That’s what hurts – waiting for them to go or waiting for them to come home.”

To ease the hurt, the business is sponsoring parties like the one on Wednesday all week for area children with military connections. It’s part of the national “Valentines for Troops” project.

In a few days, Noah’s father and troops in a unit serving in Iraq will receive the pink, purple and blue valentines from the West Fargo kindergarten class. Noah’s father is expected to be redeployed soon, said Noah’s mom, Vicky Mallory.

“I think it makes it easier for him – something happy to look forward to,” she said of her son’s party, adding it makes a difference for troops, too.

“It’s still touching them, I think, to get any mail.”

In return, the class will receive a photo of the unit and a thank you.

And for parents of children who make valentines, the business is rewarding them with tax preparation discounts, said Krogh, who is also Noah’s aunt.

She said 17 businesses pitched in to help with the monthlong project, including rival tax companies, just to “make a difference in the community.”

It’s making a difference for the kids and troops involved.

“They don’t get to take their kids and families and mommies and daddies with them,” Krogh told students. “They’re over there all alone. This is a way you guys can connect with them.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kelly Smith at (701) 241-5515