A Meaningful Memorial Day
The Forest Acres Quilting Club was once again honored to take part in the annual Memorial Day service at the Highland Cemetery in Adams by awarding Quilts of Valor to two local veterans. It was the first time that I was unable to attend one of our Quilts of Valor presentations as we were in San Diego for a family wedding. I was able to keep tabs on the day, however, via text messaging and the many pictures that were posted on Facebook.
Although rain was a worry during the day, the weather cooperated and the day was beautiful. Much different from a year ago when the temps were in the 90’s and the veterans did not want to be wrapped in their quilts for any great length of time. The ceremony began with the Memorial Prayer, the posting of the colors by the Color Guards from the Adams American Legion and VFW, the Pledge of Allegiance led by District #30 State Senator Myron Dorn, and the National Anthem sung by Freeman 8th grader Catie Reed.
Following thoughts from the guest speaker, Tony Foreman, the Quilting Club explained the mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation and the Forest Acres Quilting Club. To date over 8000 volunteers have made quilts for veterans who have been touched by war. Over 219,000 quilts have been awarded to veterans from WWII, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf War. The Forest Acres Quilting Club members - Velma Lassen, Lorna McMurray, Janie Oltman, Meredith Smidt, and myself - quilt for two hours once a week at my home. With the quilts awarded on Memorial Day, we have awarded 24 quilts to local veterans. In addition we donated five quilts to the all-female Honor Flight last September and three quilts to the Purple Heart Honor Flight that occurred on May 24, 2019.
Our first honoree this year was Ronald Baehr who spent two years serving in the Army. He enlisted in January 1969 and was sent to Fort Ord in California for training. In January 1970 he was deployed to Vietnam as a Specialist E-4, one of 25 members of an advisory team that did clerical work, water runs, guard duty, and whatever the officers needed them to do to help with wartime maneuvers. He received his discharge in January 1971 in Oakland, California. Ronald received the National Defense Award, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal.
Ronald’s quilt is from a pattern called My Stars found in the July/August 2007 edition of the Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting magazine. I stitched a custom design on it including paisleys in the large red squares, continuous curves in the stars, square-in-a-square in the narrow blue border, parallel lines and continuous curves in the setting triangles, and squiggly triangles in the outer red border. I used red and blue thread to match the fabrics.
Our second honoree was Omer Kuhlmann who was drafted into the Army in September 1962. He received his basic training in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and was then sent to Fort Huachua, Arizona. He trained and worked as a warehouseman for a short time until they discovered that he had experience in the field of aviation. He was then transferred to the Transportation Office and arranged travel for military personnel both stateside and internationally. In July of 1963 was deployed to South Korea where he worked In the Ordinance Supply Depot as a Battalion Mail Clerk. There he handled personal mail as well as shipments for warehouses which included vehicles, ammunition, and missile repair parts. His troop was stationed about 49 miles from the 38th Parallel and they were required to have vehicles and ammunition ready at any time for active participation. Omer left South Korea in September of 1964 and received his release from active duty in Oakland, California. He spent the next two years in active reserves and another two years in inactive reserves. He was discharged in 1968. Omer was awarded the Korean Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal.
Omer’s quilt is from a pattern called United In Gratitude found in the March/April 2018 edition of the Fons and Porter magazine and is full of fun polka dot fabrics. I also stitched a custom design on this quilt including wishbones in the narrow red borders and white strips in the center blocks, piano keys in the outer border, squiggly radiating lines in the setting triangles and flying geese border, and continuous curves in the half-square triangles and nine-patch blocks. I used red thread in the narrow red borders and white thread throughout the remainder of the quilt.
We thank these veterans for their service and their willingness to put themselves in harm’s way so that we can enjoy our freedom. Welcome Home!