The Forest Acres Quilting Club had the great honor of awarding four Quilts of Valor to veterans during the annual Veteran’s Day Assembly at Freeman Public Schools on November 11th. This is a wonderful venue in which to spread the message of the Quilt of Valor mission and give recognition to deserving veterans.
The Freeman High School Band provided music as students and community members took their seats in the gym. The assembly began with a greeting from Superintendent of Schools, Andrew Havelka, and the presentation of colors by the Adams American Legion and the Burrows-De Boer VFW Post #10042. The band led the audience in singing the National Anthem and the kindergarten students led the Pledge of Allegiance. Three high school students, Kaitlyn Otto, Trey Yates, and Addison Dorn, were recognized as winners of the VFW’s Voice of Democracy contest. The audience was then treated to Kaylee Schoen’s speech in which she addressed what being an American means to her. Kaylee was the winner of the 8th Grade Patriot’s Pen contest, also sponsored by the VFW. The Freeman High School Choir then performed “In Flanders Field”, arranged by Roger Emerson.
At this point in the program, the Forest Acres Quilting Club awarded their Quilts of Valor to two Marine veterans, Jim Woltemath and Jim Young, one Army veteran, David Page, and one Nebraska Army National Guard veteran, Lindsey Israelson. Mrs. Israelson is currently a 4th grade teacher at Freeman Elementary. Club member, Lorna McMurray, began by explaining that the Quilt of Valor Foundation was started by Blue Star Mother Catherine Roberts who had the idea of awarding quilts to veterans touched by War when her son was deployed in Iraq. To date over 234,000 quilts have been awarded.
Lorna then told the audience the history of the Forest Acres Quilting Club. I organized this group in July of 2016. I had known about the Quilt of Valor Foundation for several years, but did not have time to devote to this cause while teaching full-time and raising three daughters. After retiring from a 33-year career in teaching, I knew the time had come to get involved. And I thought it would be much more fun to get others involved as well. As a result, Rita Fix, Janie Oltman, Lorna McMurray and I began sewing for two hours once a week in my sewing studio. At the present time members of the group include Lorna, Janie, Velma Lassen, Meredith Smidt, and me. Others have joined us for a session or two including Freeman 7th grader Rilyn Otto, who assisted us in our presentation. Also assisting were two students from Mrs. Isrealson’s 4th grade class.
Janie Oltman introduced Jim Young and David Page. Jim Young served in the United States Marine Corps from 1971 to 1974 and was stationed in North and South Vietnam, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Guam and Singapore. Upon discharge he received the National Defense Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with one star, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal among others. A year ago he received the Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation, the Civil Action Color with Palm and Frame Ribbon Bar and the Cross of Gallantry #1 among others.
David Page enlisted in the United States Army in 1961 and served until June 1964. While stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, Dave was deployed to Germany for a 6-month tour. He earned the Army of Occupation Medal and the Expeditionary Medal. Dave has served as the Commander of the Burrows-DeBoer VFW Post for 17 years.
Meredith then introduced Jim Woltemath and Lindsey Israelson. Jim enlisted in the Marines in January 1970 and was trained as a Field Radio Operator at Camp Pendleton. From there he was sent to Vietnam where he worked as a radio operator with a motor transport company that delivered supplied to soldiers in the field. Upon his discharge in January 1972 he received the rank of E-4 and earned the Vietnam Service Medal.
Lindsey enlisted in the Nebraska Army National Guard four days after her 17th birthday in March 2002. She served in the 189th Transportation Company out of Norfolk, Nebraska. She was deployed to Iraq in August 2005 and had feet on the ground in October 2005. She spent one year in Iraq providing support to the 101st Airborne Division. She was honorably discharged in March 2010 as Sergeant E-5 with a long list of medals, badges, and ribbons.
Each time the Quilting Club begins work on a new quilt, we look forward to the time when we can honor a deserving veteran and award a quilt to them. The Freeman Assembly is very special as it includes people from the Adams and Filley communities ranging in age from five to 96. It is a unique opportunity for those who have not yet had the opportunity to serve our country thank those who have.