Valentine's are a special way of showing love to loved ones around the world and Cupid is the little guy with the arrows of "love". As an ambassador of love he can be found in every country and every town. He is especially important in Loveland, Colorado.
Cupid has already arrived in Loveland to meet with the volunteers of the worldwide Loveland Valentine Re-Mailing Program. The valentines will come from all 50 states and over 100 foreign countries including Brazil, Kenya, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa, Taiwan, Russia, Vietnam and Yugoslavia. Large numbers of valentines come from Canada, Great Britain, Japan and Australia each year to be re-mailed. Valentine's Day in Loveland, Colorado is a day of loving fulfillment for the citizens of this small town in northern Colorado.
The re-mailing program was started in 1947 by Ted Thompson, a local businessman, and postmaster Elmer Ives. Mr. Ives had received about 40 Valentines from people requesting they be mailed from Loveland, Colorado with the Loveland postmark as it would be a unique romantic touch. The two men talked it over and presented it to the Chamber of Commerce as a marketing opportunity to promote Loveland. The re-mailing program was promoted locally by the Loveland Reporter Herald and word was sent out nationally by the wire services. The Loveland Valentine Re-Mailing Program was born.
The first Loveland cachet was a heart pierced by an arrow with the message, "A Valentine Greeting from Sweetheart Town, Loveland, Colorado". Volunteers hand stamped the cachet on over 300 valentines the first year and each thereafter the number of valentines re-mailed has increased. It is estimated that over 300,000 valentines will be stamped with the 2010 cachet. The cachet is formed by joining the art and a four line verse into one stamp and then it is applied to each envelope by volunteers. The art and verse are submitted each year by local citizens in competition to win the coveted cachet.
The volunteers are mostly senior citizens who look forward to February when the sorting and stamping begins. The valentines are sorted by color: red envelopes require a black cachet and white envelopes are stamped in red. The envelopes are sorted by size and counted. Processing the envelopes can be as high as 55,000 in one day. The envelopes are then taken to the Loveland post office and stamped with the distinctive Loveland cancellation mark created each year. This is truly a labor of love and a source of pride from the volunteers as each envelope is handled approximately 15 times from start to finish.