Sewing their appreciation

American veterans have been honored in many ways over the years – in parades, holiday celebrations, church services, city hall ceremonies, and just by someone coming up to them and saying “thank you for your service.” A lot of the attention and honor comes on Veterans Day, November 11, formerly called Armistice Day.

But today, a new method of recognition has emerged – and it’s even making some of the vets cry. It’s all being done by women. They are saying “thank you” with a valor quilt, for peacetime or wartime service, in all branches of service.

(Photo provided)

(Photo provided)

In local organizations throughout the nation, a serviceman or woman is selected, and a colorful 5×6-foot quilt is handmade and presented to the veterans at a presentation day event. Each quilt’s design and colors are unique.

Twenty-six Sun City and northern Illinois veterans were honored at one of these ceremonies July 11 in Huntley. It was carried out by Gazebo Quilters of Huntley, an organization started in 2011. They have made and presented more than 1,200 “valor quilts” to area veterans in the past six years.

About 35 women quilters, most of them from Sun City, created and produced the quilts that were presented. These are not small “throw” quilts. They are bedspread-size quilts that are “presented” in a very personal way. The women that made the quilt wrap it around the veteran and take a picture.

Of the 26 men ad women honored on July 11, nine are Sun City residents:

– Clifford Dungey, Army officer, 30 years of service.
– Richard Kyle, Army, 1963-66
– Louis R. Paoli, Air Force, 1951-55.
– Fred Senft, Army, 1958-60
– Glendon G. Sepper, Army active and reserve, 1980-90
– Bruce R. Thompson, Coast Guard, four years
– Deny Weaver, Navy, 22 years, 1954-76
– Larry Wojtas, Army, 27 years, 1969-96
– Lastly, the writer of this report was “quilted” for his Army service from 1958-61.

Representing Gazebo Quilters of Huntley at the ceremonies were Judy Manke, Donna Peterson, Renee Steel, Donna Waller, Jeannine Williams, Roxanne McGowan, Bev Kenny, Tricia Baldwin, Bobbie Deletzke, Ellen Nauer, Jill Seaworth, Nancy Mueller, Pauline Wojcik, Joan Ausbury, Mary Lischalk, Sherry Masters, Cathy Smetters, Evelyn Hertrich, Jane Martinez, Mary O’Brien, Murriel Riedesel, Midge Novy, Janet Auxer-Moyta, Mary Bywalec, Shirley Whitney, and Isis Wanderer. Most of them are Sun City residents.

The Huntley group is planning another presentation at the bank on October 3.

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