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GALLERY: Veterans honored with Quilts of Valor

More than two dozen of the valley’s veterans were honored this month during the Nye County Valor Quilter’s bi-annual Quilts of Valor Presentation Ceremony, with beautiful, handmade quilts bestowed as a means of recognition as well as a source of healing and comfort for those who have served.

Taking place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4, the Quilts of Valor Presentation Ceremony started off with a welcome from chapter president Elba Rocha, who provided a brief overview of the background of the Quilts of Valor Foundation.

A nationwide organization, the Quilts of Valor Foundation was created in 2003 by Catherine Roberts, whose son was deployed in Iraq at the time. Her dream of covering America’s service members in lovingly made quilts has since grown to touch the entire nation, with chapters scattered all around the country, and since its founding, more than 362,000 Quilts of Valor have been presented.

“Our local group, Nye County Valor Quilters, was formally started by Denise Kearl, a veteran herself, in January of 2016 with about 25 members. Today, we have 32 members and during our first eight years, after this ceremony, we will have awarded 745 quilts to our local veterans. Hats off to you ladies!” Rocha said to a rousing round of applause. “Nothing would be possible without the dedication and hard work of our members.”

Recipients slated to be awarded quilts on Saturday included U.S. Army veterans George Helton, Gary Hollis, Linda Reed, Klaus Thoma and Anthony Trujillo, as well as U.S. Navy veterans Roy Cleaver, Bob Janatsch, Brian LaCoursiere, Nestor Macias, Thomas Mason, Jessica Ryals, Barry Sorteberg and Larry Van Rickley.

Veterans of the U.S. Marine Corps who were set to receive a Quilt of Valor included James Boling, Thomas Casserly Jr., Brian Jensen, John Kralovansky and Lee Dodd. Recipients from the U.S. Air Force were Joe Burns, Allen Cromer, Ronald Cwetna, William Hughes, Phil Laurant, Barry Martz, Arthur Murphy, Donald Ruch and Jimmie Walker. U.S. Coast Guard veteran Michael Wood rounded out the list.

Once wrapped in their one-of-a-kind Quilt of Valor, many of the recipients offered a few words, with gratitude for the honor first and foremost among the comments made.

“I did not know I was being volunteered for this. My neighbors kind of sprang it on me,” Reed told the crowd, eliciting general laughter. “So here I am and I just want to say, thank you so much.”

“I really appreciate all the work that has gone into this,” Janatsch stated while Boling remarked, “It’s a real pleasure and I will accept this in honor of my comrades.”

Hughes enthused, “I am just in awe of the quality and the beauty that these ladies have put into these quilts. I’m just amazed!”

As Rocha noted during the ceremony, the Nye County Valor Quilters do not receive any funding from the national Quilts of Valor Foundation but instead, relies on community donations and fundraising activities. Those willing to contribute to the all-volunteer organization can mail donations to Nye County Valor Quilters, P.O. Box 3632, Pahrump, NV, 89041.

Anyone interested in joining the group is encouraged to reach out to NyeCountyValorQuilters@gmail.com

Quilt requests can be made at QOVF.org by clicking on “Nominate a Service Member or Living Veteran”. Requesters are reminded to note whether they would like the Nye County Valor Quilters to award the quilt in the comments section at the end of the online application.

For more information visit QOVF.org

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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