I would like to share a couple of stories of Quilt of Valor presentations that occured in Salina, KS.
In 1982, Derrick crossed the stage at Ell-Saline High School. This was 2 years before me, and I remember him well. He was such a likable guy. He always made you laugh and was just one of those you would never forget going to school with.
Forward 30 years, my sister calls, and says. " Tina they are having a family reunion for Derrick." And I asked, "You want me to come? I’d be glad to see him again." But then she says the most shocking thing to me.
"No, Tina, you don’t understand. He hasn’t been home in 17 years, and I would like you to present him with a Quilt of Valor."
I think I dropped my phone. I was in shock. Derrick was in the Military? Not only was he in the Military, he had over 400 jumps under his belt and a Bronze star. In 2003 he was in Enduring Freedom. My mind was just a jumble of all kinds of thoughts. First, I could not believe that this mild mannered young man had joined the Military and he retired Military.
The highlight of this presentation is when I told Derrick that he had to use his new woobie, not hang it on a wall or put it away. He then explained to everyone what a woobie was in Military terms. Although we all think of a term for a well loved blanket, it means something totally different to Military veterans and Service Members. Derrick said not to worry…It was the best woobie he ever had and it would be well used. Through the tears of his story of the woobie, we still had to smile.
The second presentation was that evening at an annual Christmas dinner party. One of our sponsors has many veterans and a few service members working for them. We try to present one Quilt of Valor a year to an employee of theirs. Well, unbeknownst to me, Bill was the recipient of this one.
I have known Bill since the 1990’s and never knew he served. He had never talked about it. He has recently gone through some very hard times health wise and to present him was such an honor.
At the party Santa gives out gifts to the kids. Santa has me standing me up there with him, and calls Bill up. The look on his face…Priceless.
These are two of the most recent presentations that we wanted to share with you. They have been so touching to us.