The Forest Acres Quilting Club was honored to award a very special Quilt of Valor at a ceremony held at Freeman Public Schools this morning. The recipient of the quilt was Mr. Randy Page, the outgoing Superintendent of Freeman Schools. During his tenure as superintendent Mr. Page started two important traditions - beginning each school day with the Pledge of Allegiance and honoring veterans each November with an all-school assembly on Veteran’s Day.
In the summer of 2016, when the Forest Acres Quilting Club was formed, I approached Mr. Page about the possibility of awarding Quilts of Valor during the Veteran’s Day Assembly. He graciously agreed to let our group assume the role previously occupied by a speaker. We have been thrilled to educate the students and community about the Quilts of Valor Foundation as well as tell the stories of ten local veterans touched by their service in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
The ceremony today was intended to be a surprise for Mr. Page, however, one excited kindergarten student “spilled the beans” yesterday and let him know that something special was going to happen. What a fitting way for him to find out!! The morning began as an end-of-the-year awards ceremony for the elementary students. The junior high and high school students then joined the group to help honor Mr. Page. Also in attendance were several members of the Adams VFW and Legion, including five previous Quilt of Valor honorees. Family members included his wife, Rhonda, his parents, mother-in-law, and two of his children.
Mr. Page is an Army veteran who served in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. His training began in August of 1988 at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri where he received a plaque for a perfect score on the Personal Strength Test and received the Iron Man award. He then spent time in San Angelo, Texas for AIT training to become an Electronic Intel Analyst, also known as 98 Charlie. He then went to Monterey, California to study the Korean language at the Defense Language School. His next assignment was at Fort Campbell, Kentucky where he was a member of the 101st Airborne division (also known as the Screaming Eagles). Next he went to Fort Benning, Georgia for Airborne training and there received his Airborne Wings. Finally he returned to Fort Campbell, Kentucky to do repelling out of helicopters and received his Air Assault Wings. After returning from the Persian Gulf in August 1991, he received his discharge with the rank of Sergeant.
The quilt awarded to Mr. Page is full of panels with a musical theme - a marching band and individual instruments on a background of “My Country ‘Tis Of Thee”, “Seventy-Six Trombones”, and “The Star-Spangled Banner.” I found these panels at the Country Traditions garage sale last summer and knew that they would make a wonderful Quilt of Valor for someone with a musical background. I designed the layout and our club members enjoyed seeing it come together. I then quilted it with an all-over star design using gold thread.
Mr. Page added remarks at the conclusion of our presentation by telling the students that he decided to pursue a career in education when he was serving as an Army Sergeant in Iraq. On a weekly basis he would receive letters from students in four schools, including Adams Elementary students, encouraging him in his military work. Upon returning home he visited those students and was inspired to enroll in college with an education major. He also encouraged the students to have an “I Can Do It” attitude in all that they do and to know that they have the support of the Adams and Freeman community just as he did when he was growing up.
Our group was very excited to award this Quilt of Valor to a local veteran who served not only our country but our community by providing opportunities for students to grow in their patriotism.