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A Special Ceremony to Honor Veterans

The Forest Acres Quilting Club was privileged to award three Quilts of Valor to residents of Gold Crest Retirement Center in Adams on January 16, 2018. There was a nice audience in attendance as there had been a musical program in the chapel just prior to our ceremony. Honored veterans were Army veteran Elmer Heitbrink of Panama, Army veteran Harry Schmale of Cortland, and Marine veteran Kenneth Gadeken of Sterling.

Elmer Heitbrink was drafted into the Army in 1944 and was trained in the tank division. He spent one year in Osaka, Japan in the 1st Cavalry Armed Division under General Chase. While he did not see intense fighting in Japan, his duties as a clerk typist were very important for those who did. He was discharged following his year in Japan. His quilt was from a pattern found in the March/April 2013 edition of the Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting magazine entitled “America the Beautiful”. They feature at least one Quilt of Valor pattern each month. This quilt used scrappy fabric snowball blocks in the center. It was a challenge to find a quilting pattern for that particular block, but I finally settled on a combination of two designs that I like to do -- a double continuous curve around the outside with swirls moving into the center.

Harry Schmale was drafted into the Army in November 1953 and was sent to Korea following basic training. Although the war in Korea officially ended in July of 1953, troops were still carrying guns and running the fields. While in Korea, Harry became ill with polio and spent time in hospitals in Korea, Hawaii, California, and Colorado before finally being sent back to Nebraska. He was discharged in 1955. His quilt was from a pattern found in the June 2017 edition of the American Patchwork and Quilting magazine entitled “Postive Effect”. They have been featuring a pattern each month that would be suitable for a charity quilt - one just needs to pick the size that works best for your organization. I quilted an all-over star design on this quilt

Kenneth Gadeken was drafted into the Marines in 1952 and spent the majority of his military service in California. Numerous rattlesnakes and scorpions are what first came to his mind about his time spent there. The last six months of his service, however, was spent in Japan and he was discharged in 1954. There he was part of a drill team that marched for officers and he experienced quite a lot of guard duty. His quilt was constructed from a “Cake Mix” pattern by Moda Fabrics that was donated to us by a friend of our quilting group. Forty 10” squares (pre-cuts known as layer cakes) of patriotic fabric were paired with a background fabric and sewn together following the lines on the “Cake Mix” pattern. We then chose one of several arrangements available to form the design of the quilt top. I quilted parallel lines in the solid diamond-shaped fabrics and a squiggle line design that radiates from one point in the small and large triangles.

Present members of the Forest Acres Quilting Club include Velma Lassen, Lorna McMurray, Janie Oltman, Meredith Smidt, and myself. We have so much fun sewing for two hours each week in my sewing studio. And awarding our quilts to honored veterans is just the icing on the cake. Prior to the presentation on January 16th, we have awarded ten quilts to World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War veterans in the Adams area. Since the Quilts of Valor Foundation was begun by Catherine Roberts, over 179,000 quilts have been awarded nationwide.

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