History - Loveland Valentine Program
According to Gwen Masche, daughter of stamp collector and history buff Count Masche; Elmer Ivers (Loveland Postmaster in the 1940s and ‘50s), Harold Dunning, Rome Dietrich and others from the Loveland Stamp Club came up with an idea of a Re-mailing Program as a stamp collection oddity, rather than a Sweetheart angle. The club tried to promote the program for a couple of years but realized they needed someone with more marketing abilities.
Ted Thompson, who managed Loveland’s Rialto Theater and served as president of the Loveland Chamber of Commerce was asked to help because of his renown marketing skills. Ted realized that Loveland, Colorado had a unique opportunity to share a little love and friendship with the people of the USA, and indeed, the world through the Valentine Re-mailing Program.
The program gained nationwide exposure when Guy Lombardo was designated honorary mayor of Loveland on February 14, 1950. Lombardo’s orchestra, The Royal Canadians, had recorded the song, “There’s a Lovely Lake in Loveland” and featured the song during the program. As Forrest S. Knox declared in a letter to the Loveland Daily Reporter-Herald dated February 8, 2001, “They could not have found a better person to shepherd their Valentine activity. He and Mabel, even though it was not their idea, were responsible for the success of the Re-mailing Program. They did a superb job of managing the program for the rest of their lives.” Now, in its 64th year, the program is growing every year.
Loveland’s “Valentine Sweethearts,” as they are affectionately referred, Ted and Mabel Thompson have since passed away and the Loveland community feels their absence. To commemorate their vision and love of Loveland, their memory lives on through this annual program and the people of Loveland. A bronze relief of the Thompsons is featured in Thompson Park in Downtown Loveland.
Today, the Loveland Chamber of Commerce continues to operate the program, in partnership with the Loveland Post Office. The Loveland Post Office creates a special cancellation annually.