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A Patriotic Presentation

The Forest Acres Quilting Club of Adams was honored to award four Quilts of Valor to local veterans on Wednesday, November 4th at an afternoon ceremony held at the park at the entrance to the town. Each individual ceremony was filmed and was part of the Veteran’s Day video that was presented to Freeman students and families as well as posted on the Freeman Public Schools website.

The four veterans honored were Christopher Connelly of Panama, Allen Layman of Bennet, Tracy Schuppan of Adams, and Kirk Jensen of Beatrice. Christopher Connelly enlisted in the Army in 1987 and received training as a Military Police. During his three-year enlistment he was deployed to Central America twice. He spent his last year in New York working undercover narcotics for the Criminal Investigation Division. These experiences led him to a career with the Department of Corrections where he became a nationally recognized expert in gang activity.

Chris’s quilt was constructed from a pattern called Coastal Breeze which was published in the May/June 2018 edition of Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting. It was quilted with an all-over star design using white thread.

Allen Layman joined the Navy in 1964 one day before the official start of the Vietnam War. He served in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as well as the North Atlantic. In 1967 he was attached to the Special Operations Task Force aboard the USS Arlington which was stationed in Vietnam. In 2019 he was named the Burrows-DeBoer VFW Post 10042 Member of the Year.

Allen’s quilt featured several embroidered star blocks that were made and donated to our group by Sharon Bohling of Tecumseh. I then designed a pattern that alternated the embroidered blocks with a large patriotic print. An all-over star design in white thread completed this quilt.

Tracy Schuppan enlisted in the Nebraska Army National Guard in 1981. He attended several overseas deployments to Bosnia, Egypt, and Iraq. In Iraq his unit was responsible for providing medical support to 60% of the geographical area of Iraq. In addition to his overseas service, he assisted the citizens of Nebraska on eleven different occasions including the Ft. Robinson fires and post-9/11 security. Tracy retired from the service in 2006.

Tracy’s quilt was constructed from a pattern called Floating Boxes from the website. A variety of large-scale prints as well as scraps from our stash were combined to make this colorful patriotic quilt. It was also quilted with an all-over star design using gold thread.

Kirk Jensen enlisted in the Nebraska Army National Guard in 1998. In 2003 he was deployed to Kuwait where his unit eventually took over the operation of processing over 125,000 troops. His active duty ended in 2004 and he remained in the Guard until 2007. In 2009 he re-enlisted and has since assisted in many disaster events. He currently serves in the 267th Maintenance Company in Lincoln where he is a Platoon Sergeant and holds the rank of Sergeant First Class.

Kirk’s quilt was constructed from a panel and fabric that I purchased from the Calico Cottage in Hastings, Nebraska. The owner presented a program for the Panama Quilt Guild and I had the opportunity to purchase those items that evening. I then designed a pattern that incorporated the panel and several borders to make this Quilt of Valor. It was quilted with an all-over star design using navy blue thread.

After an 11-month hiatus from awarding quilts due to the pandemic our group was thrilled to have the opportunity to honor our veterans once again. We continue to make quilts for two hours each week in our own homes while communicating with each other via a Zoom meeting. We look forward to awarding those quilts in the spring.

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