Citizens recognize more local veterans with Quilts of Valor

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Prairie du Chien veterans awarded with Quilts of Valor last week included (front row, from left) Penny Remz, Sue Tiller, Nancy Eastman; (back row) Harry Remz, Rocky Rocksvold, Ivan Hoffland, Dan Reiger, Denny Reiger and Jeff Stubbs. Not pictured is George Eastman. (Photos by Correne Martin)

Just as his Quilt of Valor gave him a big and comforting “welcome home hug,” veteran Jeff Stubbs gave QOV coordinator Sue Lynch a heartfelt squeeze in appreciation for her efforts.

Sue Tiller proudly accepts her “award” from quilters Maureen Wentz-Walters and Rhonda Cerven.

Sue Lynch has been tirelessly working to award veterans with Quilts of Valor for years. Last week was a special moment for her as she gave quilts to twin brothers Denny and Dan Reiger, who she grew up near.

Penny Remz receives her red, white and blue Quilt of Valor from Maureen Wentz-Walters, while her husband and fellow veteran Harry Remz applauds.

This gorgeous and patriotic quilt was awarded to Nancy Eastman.

By Correne Martin

 

More than 350 Quilts of Valor have been presented to veterans touched by war in Crawford, Grant, Clayton and Allamakee counties over the last eight years.

Ten more veterans are now among those to be wrapped with patriotic, handmade quilts made solely from material, equipment and time donated by local quilters and members of the Northeast Iowa Quilters Guild. 

Accepting their “awards” last week were Harry and Penny Remz, Sue Tiller, Rocky Rocksvold, Ivan Hoffland, Dan Reiger, Denny Reiger, George and Nancy Eastman and Jeff Stubbs. All 10 are Prairie du Chien residents.

“Welcome home. We’re glad to have you back,” said Sue Lynch, QOV coordinator, who led the ceremony at the Prairie du Chien Veterans Memorial shelter Thursday. “For some Vietnam veterans, this is the first time anyone said that to them.”

Quilts of Valor are civilians’ way of saying “thank you for your service,” Lynch explained to the recipients and around 15 other citizens who attended the presentation. 

She said the quilt tops represent the commmunity and the stitches are filled with love and gratitude. The batting is to provide warmth and comfort, peace and healing, and the backing is for continued strength for the veterans.

In total, the U.S. has awarded over 279,000 Quilts of Valor since 2018 alone, Lynch noted. Since the end of June, 50 veterans have been wrapped by the “hug” of a quilt.

The audience learned a little about each veterans’ service last week.

Penny Remz served 20 years in the Air Force on Pacific and European tours.

Originally from Pennsylvania, Harry Remz met his wife, Penny, in the Air Force. He also served 20 years and was stationed “all over.”

Sue Tiller is a Prairie du Chien native. She was the first woman of the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program at UW-Madison, graduating in 1976. She served 20 years in military intelligence.

Rocky Rocksvold, of Prairie du Chien, went into the Army in 1957 and served during the Berlin crisis.

Ivan Hoffland, of Prairie du Chien, entered the Marine Corps  in 1966 and served in Korea.

Denny Rieger served in the Navy from 1975 to 1995.

Dan Rieger served four years in the Marines.

George Eastman was in the ROTC at Campion High School for four years, the Air Force afterward. He earned a master’s in Russian language and was stationed in Berlin, providing intelligence about what the Russian pilots said. He served 15 years and retired as a captain. 

Nancy Eastman served in the Army Reserves in 1990, Desert Storm for eight months, performed Air Force community active duty in 1996, spent 2005-2006 in Iraq and Iran and 2013 in Afghanistan.

Jeff Stubbs was raised a “Navy brat” but went into the Army. He served during Desert Storm and went to Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Lynch said she’s been trying to convince Stubbs for quite some time to accept the Quilt of Valor honor. He obviously agreed. 

He acutally shared one of the most poignant comments of the ceremony with everyone Thursday. He said, “Like everybody up here, I feel there’s always somebody who deserves this more than me.”

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