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A Patriotic Presentation

The Forest Acres Quilting Club was honored to award two Quilts of Valor at the VFW meeting in Adams on Monday evening, May 24th. Honored veterans were Jerry Artz of Lincoln and Brad Owen of Adams. I was sad to be unable to attend due to a couple of doctor appointments that I had in Omaha on Monday and Tuesday. However the other members of the quilting group carried on admirably in my absence and gave me a full report when we gathered via Zoom to sew the next day.

Although Jerry Artz was drafted into the Army he actually served in the Air Force from 1970 to 1974. He received his basic training in Fort Lackland, Texas and was trained in pararescue life support. He received further training in this area at Homestead Air Force Base in Florida before being deployed to Northern Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. His primary duties in Southeast Asia focused on organizing and packing survival gear. Although the veterans during this time were not given respect upon their return, Jerry feels honored to have served his country. In a heartfelt speech Jerry told those in attendance on Monday evening that his service made him the man, the father, and the grandfather that he is today. He was discharged in April of 1974 with the rank of Sergeant.

Jerry’s quilt is from a pattern called Double Square Star from the Missouri Star Quilt Company. I was drawn to this pattern because of the unique shape of the stars. And it allowed us to use some of the many 5” squares that I had purchased a few years ago at a garage sale in Adams. Since I added a sparkly silver background to the stars I decided to quilt the all-over star design using a silver thread.

Brad Owen enlisted in the Army in 2002 and received basic combat and AIT training at Fort Benning, Georgia. He received additional training as a Commanders Bradley (an armored troop carrier) driver and as a sniper. During his four year tour of duty he spent time in Kuwait and Iraq participating in missions that were very dangerous. One such mission took over the airport in Baghdad. Another mission provided security during Saddam Hussein’s trial to ensure that no one tried to help Saddam escape. Brad was discharged in May 2006 with the rank of Sergeant.

Brad’s quilt is from a pattern called Strip Stars from G. E. Designs. This layout works best when a wide variety of dark and medium reds and blues are used as the colors really pop against the white background. The scrappiness of the fabrics allowed us to use up some of the smaller pieces in our stash. I quilted an all-over star design using red thread to complete this top.

In addition to the Quilts of Valor presentation at the meeting, members of the VFW, the VFW Auxiliary, and the Forest Acres Quilting Club wished Don McPherson a very happy 99th birthday. Don is a WWII flying ace and was the second recipient of a Quilt of Valor from our group. Happy Birthday, Don!

Thanks to Janie Oltman for taking pictures during the presentation and for reading a bio during the presentation. Velma Lassen read the main script and Meredith Smidt read one of the bios and awarded that quilt. Lorna McMurray is our script writer extraordinaire and awarded the other quilt. Also thanks to VFW Auxiliary members Karen Page and Darlene Remmers for helping to hold the quilts for display during the ceremony.

These awards mark the first indoor presentations that the Forest Acres Quilting Club has been able to do since the Veteran’s Day Assembly at Freeman High School in November of 2019. It is so nice to see our activities getting back to normal!

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