Friends and families gathered to award Quilts of Valor to three veterans at a ceremony at the Kensington on Monday.
Marlyn Cullison, Ivel Carpenter and Dennis Prebyl were each awarded a quilt.
Beatrice Middle School teachers Michael Policky and Ben Essam worked with Jan Smaus’s after-school activity with Gage County 4-H and Quilt Stitches to piece the quilts together.
Students in Policky and Essams’ classes visit the Kensington every other week for the Adoptive Grandparents program, which has been going for 28 years.
“Anytime we can bring the generations together to build relationships, it’s a good thing,” Policky said. “They play games and the older generation shares what their life was like when they were a kid. Both sides have something to give and receive. It’s great.
“For some of these grandparents, it is the only connection with the outside world. A lot of them continue their connections after the class is completed and become an important part of their lives.”
Policky added the students have provided numerous veterans with quilts as part of the Quilt of Valor program.
“Jan Smaus’s enrichment class sewed the quilts with some help with 4-H and Quilt Stitches,” he said. “We worked with Trudy Spicer at the Kensington and found three of the grandparents in the program were veterans. We set it up for right before Valentine’s Day to honor them for their love of country and love of the kids. We’re so glad it worked out.”
Nevan Woods, a Beatrice Middle School eighth grader, awarded Carpenter with the Quilt of Valor at the ceremony.
“Ivel’s really intelligent and a lot of fun to hang out with,” Woods said. “He knows a lot about cars and has taught me about life. I really loved being able to do this for him.”
Trudy Spicer, Program Coordinator with the Kensington, said residents have enjoyed the program.
“I just think this is wonderful,” she said. “It is such an honor to be a part of the adoptive grandparent program and to recognize these men for their service.”
Jane Esau, Gage County 4-H Coordinator, said she’s honored to be part of the program.
“It was so nice to partner with the Middle School in making the quilts and have the youth involved in this ceremony,” she said. “I think they have learned so much from the Veterans about sacrifice and it’s really special to be a part of Quilts of Valor.”
Cullison served in the United States Army from January 11, 1951 to Octoer 15, 1956. He received a Rifle Marksman Badge and was discharged at the rank of Corporal. Marlyn is a 1950 graduate of Beatrice High School.
Carpenter served in the Nebraska National Guard. He entered as a Company Clerk in 1945 and ended his career as a Master Sergeant and Platoon Leader in 1952. He graduated from Diller High School in 1946.
Prebyl served in the Nebraska National Guard from March 2, 1964 to October 6, 1969. He earned the Sharpshooter Badge with Rifle bar. He graduated from Beatrice High School in 1965.
In 2003 Catherine Roberts started the Quilts of Valor Foundation after a dream of panic when her son was deployed in Iraq. The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.