Saturday afternoon in the center of the Marshalltown Mall, the public assembled to honor 17 local veterans, by awarding them Quilts of Valor.
Now in its second year, this fall program is presented by the Central Iowa Quilt Sew-ciety. The ceremony got underway with a blessing by Pastor Kerry Jech, followed by the Presentation of Flags by the American Legion and Post 839 of the VFW. The Marshalltown mTunes performed patriotic songs before and after the awarding of the quilts. Iowa Quilts of Valor coordinator Warren Larson introduced the recipients and read biographical information about each person’s military service. The 17 individuals were each escorted onto the stage, by either friends or loved ones, to have their one-of-a-kind quilt draped across their shoulders, then folded and presented.
“Every stitch is done with love,” Larson said. “It’s a three part message: honor, thanks and offering peace and comfort by presenting these quilts.”
Sixteen recipients knew they would receive the honor, while it was a surprise gesture for the 17th veteran. John Hall, who served in the SeaBees during the 1960s, as a member of the United States Naval Construction Forces, thought he was attending the ceremony in order to support his fellow veteran friends being honored. He recalled serving his country for “three years, three months and 12 days, without ever setting foot on a ship.”
“We had friends involved with Quilts of Valor, and when they approached me about seeing if John would like a quilt, I knew he would, and I said making it a surprise would be kind of fun,” said his wife Diane Hall.
The Sew-ciety reached out to 97-year-old World War II veteran Charlotte Applegate, but she declined the offer of a quilt, wishing it to go to veteran Dierdre Taylor instead. Taylor received her quilt, however, the Sew-ciety had a miniature quilt made for Applegate, which will be presented to her by Taylor and the group’s program director Marvis Drew, at a later date.
In addition to Hall and Taylor, the following veterans, ranging in age, branch of the military, and war service, were gifted quilts: Larry Stover, Harold Cline, Ralph Kosbau, Peter Quaife, Diane Dunham, Clyde Evers, Dale Franksain, Henry Rumbaugh, David Gray, Gary Lurvey, Ralph Bender, Bob Sutherland, Donald Walbridge, Leroy Hollisworth and Matthew Fricke.
In addition to the Quilts of Valor pieces, the Sew-ciety has a collection of 68 quilts on display in the center of the mall, as part of its quilt show. Those will be on display through Oct. 10, with a box for casting a vote for “best quilt” available at Heavenly Breads eatery, inside the mall. Some of the quilts will be made available for purchase.
The group estimates the cost of completing a Quilt of Valor to be around $200 each. Contributions may be sent to: P.O. Box 1755, Marshalltown. To learn more about Quilts of Valor visit: www.qovf.org.