Last week the Forest Acres Quilting Club once again took part in the Veteran’s Day assembly held at Freeman High School. It had been two years since the assembly had taken place in person. Last year, amidst the pandemic, we awarded quilts at an outdoor site and the ceremony was recorded and posted on the Freeman website. Students and patrons of the district then viewed the presentations on Veteran’s Day. This year it felt more normal and so good to be back together inside.
The program began with a welcome from Superintendent Andrew Havelka and the presentation of the colors by the VFW and American Legion color guards. The Freeman High School Band then played the National Anthem and the kindergarten class led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Next Mr. Havelka asked all of the veterans to stand and be recognized with applause by all of those in attendance.
At this point in the program students who had received awards in the VFW-sponsored essay contests were recognized. The Voice of Democracy contest posed the question “ America: Where do we go from here?” to high school seniors. The Freeman essay winners were Alex Podtburg, 1st place, Kailey Otto, 2nd place, and Grace VanEngen, 3rd place. Eighth grade students were challenged to write about “How can I be a good American?” in the Patriot’s Pen contest. Winner Alicia Johansen recited her speech stating that everyone needed to work together to accomplish that task. The high school choir then sang a heartfelt piece entitled “O America”, arranged by Roger Emerson.
Next our quilting club awarded Quilts of Valor to two veterans from the Adams area.
Club member Meredith Smidt opened our part of the program by introducing the members of our group and explaining how the Quilt of Valor Foundation came to be in 2003. She also told the audience that as of October 30th of this year 286,178 quilts have been awarded to veterans in every state and from every branch of the military.
Our first recipient was Calvin Prange of Panama. Calvin enlisted in the United States Army as a result of the draft in 1949. After his basic training he was sent to Germany where his main job was to guard the German-Russian line. Although World War II was over by this time Americans were still asked to help in this part of the world. Calvin received his discharge with the rank of Private in 1951.
Calvin’s quilt was constructed from a pattern entitled Strip Poker by G. E. Designs. It is full of 4” x 6” blocks made from scrappy red, white, and blue fabrics. We so enjoyed making this quilt as each block was nicer than the one before. After the blocks were stitched together I quilted an all-over star design on my long arm quilting machine using white thread.
Our second recipient was Kenneth Grannas Sr. from Adams. Kenny enlisted in the United States Air Force in March of 1958 and subsequently served his country for 20 years. He earned the rank of E-7 Master Sargeant and served on several overseas bases such as Anderson Air Force Base in Guam, Ramey Air Force Base in Puerto Rico, and Kunsan Air Base in South Korea. Kenny is a life member of VFW Post 10042 and was honored to be elected District 16 Commander in 2006-2007.
Kenny’s quilt was constructed from a pattern called Lucky Stars from Atkinson Designs. These 15” blocks were made with a scrappy feel. I once again stitched an all-over star design using white thread to complete this quilt.
We had planned to award a third quilt but were unable to do so as the recipient is a resident at Gold Crest and the facility had been locked down last week due to a Covid-19 outbreak. Our plan is to schedule an awards ceremony as soon as the retirement center reopens. So stayed tuned for an upcoming blog that will detail that event.