Veterans honored with Quilts of Valor at Montour celebration

Veteran Mike Buchanan receives a Quilt of Valor during the Montour sesquicentennial on Saturday. Four other veterans received quilts during the ceremony. PHOTO BY LANA BRADSTREAM

MONTOUR — Five veterans received Quilts of Valor from the Central Iowa Quilt Sew-Ciety Guild during the Montour sesquicentennial last Saturday. Accepting quilts were Robert McCoy, Don Campbell, Mike Buchanan, James Hines and Mark Legg.

Quilt Sew-Ciety member Marvis Drew provided a brief history of Quilts of Valor, saying it was started in 2003 by Catherine Roberts. Drew said Roberts had a dream about a young veteran struggling with the memories of war. Then, a quilt was wrapped around him and his tormented demeanor changed to one of calm.

“The quilt had made this dramatic change, and Catherine thought quilts equal healing,” she said. “I would add they also add comfort, love and thanks.”

Drew said Quilts of Valor are awarded to veterans, and not just passed out. The quilt signifies thanks for the service, valor and time spent away from families. The Central Iowa Quilt Sew-Ciety has awarded 485 quilts since beginning in 2015.

“Quilts of Valor are special. They are not charity quilts,” Drew said. “They are made with veterans in mind by quilters who spend hours choosing the pattern and fabrics to use; cutting, sewing, ironing and finishing the quilt.”

Drew then introduced the veterans receiving the quilts, and gave a brief history of each one. McCoy was awarded the “Homespun Stars” quilt. He served as a private first-class in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1951 during the Korean War. When an illness fell on his family, he was called home. Afterward, McCoy worked on the family farm and joined the Montour VFW.

Campbell served in the Navy from 1960 to 1964 as an E5 draftsman. He spent two years on the USS Midway aircraft carrier. During his last two years of service, Campbell was based at Hawaii. Drew said he was supposed to get the Good Conduct Medal, but has never received it.

“I hope he does,” she said.

After his service, Campbell worked at Fisher Controls for 34 years before retiring. He and his wife, Connie, have three children. Campbell has been a member of the American Legion for 57 years. The quilt awarded to Campbell was called “America the Beautiful.”

Buchanan, awarded the “Land of the Free” quilt, also celebrated his birthday on Saturday. He served four years in the Navy from 1964 to 1969 as integrated interior communications and control. Buchanan was stationed in the Mediterranean Sea and South Pacific and remembers the attack on the USS Liberty on June 8, 1967. Buchanan received the Vietnam Service Medal with two stars. After his service, he worked as an electrician and emergency medical technician for the fire department.

Hines served in the Army from 1965 to 1967. He became a sergeant and spent two weeks on a troop transit ship with 1,500 soldiers. Hines, a member of the American Legion, earned Good Conduct, National Defense and Expert Rifle and Pistol medals. After his service ended, Hines farmed and worked part-time jobs. He has served on local boards and is married to Gretchen. Hines was awarded the “America” quilt.

Legg was awarded the “Black and White Crossings” quilt. He served in Vietnam as a tank commander corporal in the Marines from 1970 to 1973. Legg earned medals for National Defense, Good Conduct, Rifle and Pistol Sharpshooter. After his service, he operated a D9 Caterpillar and is married to Lois.

Before the presentation of the quilts, Rep. Dean Fisher (R-Montour) also read a proclamation from Gov. Kim Reynolds declaring Sept. 9 as Montour’s 150th anniversary.