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Ella Faye Winkle smiles as Beatrice Middle School students place a Quilt of Valor over her shoulders. The Quilt of Valor presentation was part of a bigger ceremony BMS held on Monday recognizing Veterans Day. Pictured behind Winkle: Jorja Boller, Katrina Rulla, Ms. Jan Smaus, Becky Zhu, Ryan Rempel, Taylin Bent, Coby Wallace, Addison Baxa and Jaedyn Baxa.

Beatrice Middle School students Ella Faye Winkle with a Quilt of Valor for her service during the Korean War during a Veterans Day ceremony Monday morning.

“I was about 14 when World War II ended, and when the Korean War started, I had just graduated from Beatrice High School, 1950,” Winkle said.

Winkle said that when she enlisted, several of her friends had already done the same, and some had already been deployed.

“I had no idea where Korea was, but I doubt if most of my friends did, either,” Winkle said.

Winkle went to the Pope Air Force Base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. She acknowledged her high school short hand and business teachers, as their classes qualified Winkle to work as a secretary.

From 1950-1952, Winkle was secretary to Commanding Officer William H. Schwartz, Jr. Her duties included documenting the speed, distance and technological aspects of the experimental use of jets planes, as they were new to combat.

“Those jets were so loud I could hardly hear the Colonel, or even myself, trying to take notes,” Winkle said. She now wears hearing aids.

Winkle also researched and recorded the history of the 507th Tactical Control Group, which is currently in Washington D.C. archives.

While at Fort Bragg, Winkle met her husband and they were married on base. They finished their tours of duty and left the service.

“I enjoyed being a part of something that special,” Winkle said. “It was a big part of my life.”

After the military, Winkle moved to Mississippi earning a Bachelor’s degree in education and later a Master’s degree in counseling. For 30 years, Winkle was a history teacher for elementary and middle school students. Winkle has four children and currently lives in Pickrell.

The Quilt of Valor was presented by Jan Smaus and Jane Esau from the Gage County Extension Office, as well as students that participate in the Quilt of Valor after school group.

The Quilt of Valor Foundation began in 2003 by Catherine Roberts. When her son was deployed in Iraq, Roberts felt a panic for the dangers her son faced and dreamt of wrapping soldiers in a quilt. The mission of the Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comfort and healing quilts. Since its creation, over 222,000 Quilts of Valor have been awarded nationally.

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