Quilts of Valor given to local WWII veterans

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Eleven local WWII veterans were honored with Quilts of Valor at MFL MarMac’s Veterans Day program Nov. 11. Those honored included (front, left to right) Henry J. Kleinow, LeeAllen Johanningmeier, Robert Drahn, Jack Elliott, Lloyd Drahn; (back) Roy Jamesen, Adelbert (Butch) Whittle, Harlan Hass, Erwin Ruff, Bob Eggen for Eugene Trudo and Adrian Kinley for Orville Knapp Sr. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

Roy Jamesen (left), sitting next to Henry J. Kleinow, shared about his military service during the Veterans Day program Nov. 11.

High school students Jasmine Stocker (left) and Chaun’te Drahn present a Quilt of Valor to Erwin Ruff. Of the 11 quilts presented last week, one was made by each Stocker and Drahn. For more photos from the program, visit the North Iowa Times Facebook page. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

WWII veterans Jack Elliott (left) and Lloyd Drahn share a thought during the Quilts of Valor presentation at MFL MarMac High School Nov. 11.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

MFL MarMac’s annual Veterans Day program had a special touch this year as 11 World War II veterans were honored with Quilts of Valor.

Since its inception in 2003, when quilter and blue star mother Catherine Roberts came up with the idea of using quilts to comfort veterans while her son was deployed in Iraq, the Quilts of Valor Foundation, through local volunteers, has awarded over 128,000 quilts to service members and veterans touched by war.

Those receiving Quilts of Valor included:

Lloyd Drahn, Monona, Army

Robert Drahn, Monona, Marine Air Corps

John (Jack) Elliott, Marquette, Navy

Harlan Hass, McGregor, Marine Corps

Roy Jamesen, McGregor, Army and Air Force

LeeAllen Johanningmeier, McGregor, Army Air Corps

Henry J. Kleinow, McGregor, Navy

Orville Knapp Sr., McGregor, Air Force (accepted by Adrian Kinley)

Erwin Ruff, McGregor, Army

Eugene Trudo, McGregor, Navy (accepted by Bob Eggen)

Adelbert (Butch) Whittle, Monona, Navy Air Corps

Of the thousands of quilts given to American service men and women, no two are the same. There is no set pattern or color scheme, although patriotic themes, with red, white and blue, are most often incorporated.

Quilts of Valor volunteer Diana Parker, who helped organize the presentation and spoke at the program, said she views the quilts as having three layers. On the top, she said, “each stitch represents the love, gratitude and tears” put into the quilt by community members and individuals. The batting in the center is meant to keep the veteran warm, while the backing represents the veteran’s strength.

“May it be healing and comforting and a continual reminder of our thanks for your sacrifices,” she said.

All of the quilts awarded last week were made locally, with two created by MFL MarMac High School students Chaun’te Drahn and Jasmine Stocker.

Both have taken a textiles class in school, and Stocker is currently in advanced textiles, so they said they knew the basics going into the project. This fall, armed with guidelines on material and length from the local Quilts of Valor volunteers, the two each created a quilt top.

“It was very rewarding,” said Stocker of the experience.

“They gave their time and put their lives on the line,” added Drahn of the veterans who received the quilts, “so it was the least we could do.”

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