“They don’t want to brag,” said Elayne Gassett, one of the area Quilt of Valor leaders, of the three veterans who received a quilt Saturday at the Vinton Lutheran Home.
But Robert Arnold disagreed.
“I do want to brag,” said Arnold, who served on a PT boat in the Pacific, where a sailor from another boat observed Arnold and his crew in a firefight with Japanese vessels, and then drew the battle with colored pencils.
That drawing was on display on Saturday, along with a copy of the PT boat’s insignia, which Arnold also brought home.
Arnold’s son Steve, a retired elementary teacher and current ACT 1 director and actor, said his father bought the drawing from the artist with his beer ration coupons.
The framed art work also included a photo of Arnold from his WWII days.
Arnold briefly spoke about his memories of his days on that PT boat.
Along with Arnold, veterans David Schirm and Bruce Talbox received a Quilt of Valor on Saturday. Jim Peterson also attended, with the quilt he had recently received.
“Every veteran who receives a Quilt of Valor also gets a hug,” explains Gassett, who has presented quilts to many area veterans. “That’s because every quilt is a gift of love and thanks.”
Gassett explained that the Quilts of Valor organization began when the mother of a veteran wanted to create something to comfort him on difficult nights. Now more than 171,000 veterans have received a quilt. Each quilt includes a thank you note as well as the names of those who made it.
Many family members joined the veterans in the Lutheran Home chapel for the service. Along with Gassett, Quilt of Valor volunteer Jerry Green also spoke in honor of the veterans. Carolyn Hibbs provided patriotic music.
The veterans and families then spent some time sharing stories and posing for photos. Lutheran Home Activities Director Stephanie Heckroth organized the celebration, saying it’s always a joy to honor veterans this way.
Rita Moore of rural Vinton made the quilts for the veterans, adding to the list of several she has already made. At the end of the meeting, Gassett gave Moore some more material with a patriotic design, which will go into a future quilt for another veteran.
See more photos of Saturday’s presentation HERE.
See more about Quilts of Valor HERE.