BANGOR, Maine — The honor of getting to know the men and women who served this country in uniform a generation ago is one reason John Bapst Memorial High School football player Spencer Baron took time to say hello to those attending the school’s Valentine’s Day ball held at the Maine Veterans Home.

“Last year we had a great turnout, and we came back this year because we need to say ‘thank you’ to our veterans,” Baron said afterward, as fellow teammates, their coach and cheerleaders talked and danced with the veterans.

Some residents of the home are veterans, and others are spouses of veterans.

“They get a lot out of this and we get a lot,” the senior at John Bapst said.

Tracy Flagg, the mother of one football player, organized the event, which started last year and includes the participation of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office, where her husband Bill Flagg is a detective, and the Maine Army National Guard.

Penobscot County Chief Deputy William Sheehan was in attendance with five fellow officers.

“We came out to welcome our veterans and to say ‘thank you’ to them,” Sheehan said.

Each member of the veterans home who showed up at the ball was given a flower and a bookmark featuring pictures of the cheerleading squad and football team.

“This was a huge success last year, and we are thrilled to do it again,” Tracy Flagg said. “We are hoping to make this an annual event.”

Jessie Sweeney, a senior cheerleader, read a poem titled “Proud of Our Nation” to the veterans group just before the dance started, and football coach Dan O’Connell also took time to personally thank all the residents for their service. He also thanked Flagg, Casella for providing the flowers, and the Maine Veterans Home staff “for all you do every day.”

O’Connell said both his grandfathers, his father, three uncles and two brothers-in-law have or are serving in military uniforms.

“What we owe [veterans] is everything, most notably is our way of life,” the football coach said.

The entertainment for the ball was provided by an Elvis Presley impersonator. Several veterans, including Chester Maddocks of Ellsworth, could be seen enjoying the music.

“I’m out of my room, it’s interesting, and I had a good time,” said the Ellsworth veteran, who also attended the event last year.

Since Baron is graduating this spring, he said next year’s football team and cheerleading squad will have to continue the new tradition of honoring veterans on the day set aside for love.

“It’s good to know who they are,” Baron said. “I think everybody needs to know their sacrifice.”