Pamela Applegate-Simpson, left, presents her handmade Quilts of Valor work to Ann Marie Keener, aunt of Purple Heart recipient Justin Crabbe, of Rancho Cucamonga. (Courtesy photo)
RANCHO CUCAMONGA -- Another Inland Valley group has been moved by the touching story of recovering Purple Heart recipient Justin Crabbe of Rancho Cucamonga.
When members of the West Valley Republican Assembly found out about the service and sacrifice of Crabbe, a Los Osos High School graduate, they decided they wanted to do something recently.
So Assembly president Earl De Vries contacted Crabbe's aunt, Ann Marie Keener, and invited her to share updates about him and his progress toward coming home. Crabbe lost both of his legs below the knees and some fingers in a bomb blast while serving in Afghanistan last summer. He remains in Bethesda Naval Hospital while he undergoes treatment and rehabilitation.
Despite the great challenges, Keener told Assembly members about her nephew's health and reported that his spirits are high.
"We learned that Justin has to report to duty every morning. He is still in the Marines," De Vries said.
"We also learned about how a group of businessmen and contractors are remodeling his Rancho home to accommodate him. And we learned that Wayne Moffit of Red Hill Caf is a loyal supporter of Justin and his family. To sum it up, it was so great that so many people in the community, just like the WVRA, want to support our brave soldiers and their families."
West Valley Republican Assembly members are staunch supporters of the United States military. They pass the hat for donations at the monthly meetings with the money going to the Ontario USO.
During the recent group evening, members gave Keener personal notes of encouragement so she can pass them on to Crabbe.
In addition to the letters of support, Pamela Applegate-Simpson gave Keener a homemade quilt she personally designed and stitched for the young man. Applegate-Simpson is a proud member of the national Quilts of Valor Foundation program, which distributes thousands of handmade blankets to the country's military personnel. The idea is to provide warmth and comfort while honoring those who have served and especially those who have been wounded during that service.
The one she made for Crabbe features red, white and blue panels, the American flag and in the middle it sports the faces of three American bald eagles in all their beauty and strength.
"We are looking forward to the day when Justin will come home to Rancho. We hope our efforts are an encouragement to him and his family," De Vries said. "It was just a wonderful meeting."

Submitted by Barb W - So Cal Quilts of Valor