On Friday, November 10th, the Forest Acres Quilting Club was honored to award two Quilts of Valor to veterans at the Norris High School Veteran’s Day Assembly. The veterans were father and son, James and Michael Rider. Michael is a graduate of Norris High School and his children are currently students there. This was a new awards venue for our members and we were grateful that they welcomed us to be a part of their presentation. We enjoyed the opportunity to see how another school honored their veterans.
Norris began their assembly with a welcome followed by the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance by those in attendance. Next the Star Spangled Banner was sung by a mixed octet from the Norris High School Choir. The guest speaker was Brigadier General Lynn Heng of the Nebraska Army National Guard. He encouraged the young people in the audience to look into a career in the military.
Next the Norris Neighbors 4-H Club and the Forest Acres Quilting Club awarded three Quilts of Valor to area veterans. The Norris Neighbors honored Martin Neal who enlisted in the United States Army in 1988. He received a commission as an Infantry Second Lieutenant in Officer Candidate School in 1998. As a commissioned officer he was deployed to Iraq in 2003 where he coordinated base defense operations and trained and operated with the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps. He retired in 2019 after serving for 31 years. The 4-H club earned purple ribbons on the quilt that they awarded to Mr. Neal at the Gage County Fair and the Nebraska State Fair this summer. They also won the Champion Patriotic Quilt award at the Lancaster County Super Fair.
The Forest Acres Quilting Club next honored James Rider who enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1970 and was trained as an Aircraft Electrician. He was deployed to three different locations in Thailand where he worked on tankers and bombers. In 1974 he re-enlisted for another four years and was then trained as a Medical Equipment Repair Technician in which he serviced specialized laboratory and audiometric testing equipment. He was honorably discharged with a rank of E5 Staff Sergeant in 1978.
Jim’s quilt is from a pattern called Ice Cubes found in the January/February 2022 edition of Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting. It features two blocks - an eight-pointed star and a square-in-a-square on point.
Next we awarded a Quilt of Valor to Michael Rider who enlisted in the United States Navy in 2001 and attended the Navy’s Information Systems Technician School. He was then deployed to South Korea for one year where he worked closely with military forces from both the United States and South Korea providing them with critical communications and intelligence support. In 2003 he was assigned to Commander, U.S. Third Fleet headquarters in San Diego where he managed satellite communication operations for US Navy forces operating between the West Coast and East Asia. During this time he interviewed and was selected for Presidential Support Duty at the White House. In 2006 he was assigned to the White House Communications Agency and spent the next five years providing direct communication support to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, their administrations, and the Secret Service. In 2012 Mike was commissioned as a Cryptologic Warfare Officer while continuing to serve in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He served at Offutt Air Force Base, multiple locations for the National Security Agency, and the Joint Special Operation Command in Fort Bragg, NC. In 2017 Mike was deployed to Iraq and Syria with a Special Operations Task Force serving as the Task Force Electronic Warfare Officer where he provided direct support to over 40 capture or kill missions of High Value Targets in the fight against ISIS. In 2018, while at the Joint Special Operations Command, he continued to serve as Electronic Warfare Office for real-world operations to support Global Hostage Rescue operations. Mike retired in 2022 at Offutt Air Force Base with the rank of Lieutenant.
Mike’s quilt was made from a pattern called Songbird Stars that was found in the same magazine as the previous quilt. We constructed 48 identical blocks and then arranged them to create two completely different larger blocks.
The program at Norris concluded with the Norris High School Band performing a medley of songs, one from each branch of the armed services. It was an impressive presentation and we were grateful to be a part of it.