Five military veterans currently residing at the Kensington in Beatrice were awarded with a Quilt of Valor March 8 during a special ceremony. Ann Freese of Quilt Stitches and Jane Esau with Gage County 4-H presented the quilts.
“The Quilts of Valor Foundation began in 2003 after Charlotte Robertson had a dream involving her son, who was deployed to Iraq. A quilt was draped around him in the dream bring comfort and healing,” Freese said. “It became the mission of the Foundation to cover all those service members and veterans wounded physically or psychologically with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.”
Since its inception more than 200,000 Quilts of Valor have been awarded.
Each of the five veterans and their family were invited to the front while their service record was read and they were draped in their Quilt of Valor.
James Knisely served in the United States Army from September 1946 to March 1948. He was awarded the World War II Victory Medal and the Army of Occupation Medal for Japan. He competed on the Army Rifle Team and won honors as part of that team.
LaVern Parde served in the United States Army from October 1951 to October 1953. He received the Korean War National Defense Service Medal.
Larry Carlson served in the Army National Guard. He served six years and received the Sharp Shooter Award in September 1975. He earned an Honorable Discharge June 1, 1976.
“We didn’t get this nice of quilt when we were in the service. I hope someday people recognize what’s been done by the Veterans. I’m honored,” Carlson said.
George Weirs served six years in the Army Reserve beginning in January 1958.
Family member, Mark Weir, said his dad never felt like he deserved anything, but he was so glad he was chosen to receive the honor of the Quilt of Valor.
Richard Drewes enlisted in January 1956 and was discharged in January 1961 at the rank of Specialist 4.
“It’s so humbling to be a part of these ceremonies,” Freese said. “As a certified Quilt of Valor store, we have so many volunteers that give of their time and talents. We couldn’t do it without them.”
“It’s so nice to have the store here in Beatrice that we can draw from for the quilts,” Esau added. “ It is invaluable to be able to call and request several quilts. It allows us to give more to deserving veterans.”
Trudy Spicer, Activities Coordinator at the Kensington, made arrangements for the surprise ceremony and was able to attend after having knee surgery the previous week.
“I wouldn’t have missed seeing my guys honored in this way,” Spicer said.