If at once you don’t succeed - try, try again! That became the mantra of the Forest Acres Quilting Club when it came to awarding our last two Quilts of Valor. We first planned to award quilts to veterans Gordon Kroese and John Keizer at the Veteran’s Day assembly at Freeman Public Schools on November 11th. That plan was derailed as John was planning to be out of the state and Gordon was quarantined at Gold Crest Retirement Center due to a COVID outbreak among the staff. We then planned a ceremony for December 15th. On December 6th Gordon unexpectedly passed away. As a result our club asked special permission to award his quilt posthumously to his family. And while permission was granted our area endured a strange wind storm on December 15th and our ceremony was canceled once again. Finally on January 20th we were able to award the quilts at a ceremony held at the Adams Community Building.
John Keizer enlisted in the Air Force in July of 1967 and went through basic training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas. After basic training he was asked to work in Intelligence as an analyst. This led him overseas to Osan US Air Force Base in South Korea where he worked in security and support of the US troops fighting in Vietnam where he monitored other countries for their activities that might affect our war efforts. He was an Expert Rifleman as well ass earning USAF Security Top Secret clearance. John was honorably discharged in June of 1971 as a Staff Sergeant E5. John’s wife Judy joined him at the award ceremony.
John’s quilt was made from a pattern called Rising High from the January/February 2021 edition of Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting. It is a unique design as it features five different sizes of stars amidst a background of negative space. It was quilted with an all-over star design in a light grey thread.
Gordon Kroese was drafted into the Army in 1960. After his basic training at Fort Ord in California he was sent to Germany where he worked as an electrician wiring telephones and switchboards so that information could be relayed between the units. He served in this capacity for fifteen months. Gordon received his discharge in May of 1962 as an E4 Corporal and received the Sharp Shooters Rifle award. Accepting the quilt in memory of Gordon were two of his daughters Kathy Goracke and Amy Osterhoudt. The Forest Acres Quilting Club sends our condolences to all those in the Kroese family. Gordie was a mainstay in our community and many citizens have fond memories of him.
Gordon’s quilt was made from a pattern designed by the Missouri Star Quilt Company called Jelly Basket. It uses squares from a layer cake - 10” squares from a collection of fabric - cut in half and bordered by either red or white solid fabrics. It was quilted with an all-over star design in white thread.
Attending the ceremony on January 20th at the Adams Community Building were several members of the Adams VFW and VFW Auxiliary. We are so thankful for the continued support that we receive from those groups. Their attendance made this ceremony very special. We are also grateful to the Quilts of Valor Foundation for making an exception to their rules and allowing us to award Gordon’s quilt after his passing. The effects of the COVID virus continue to adjust our normal protocols.
Stay tuned for stories about upcoming Quilts of Valor awards ceremonies. We have been stitching diligently - either in person or via FaceTime - to make more quilts.