Memorial Lutheran Church grant helped fund four quilts presented Sunday

Marlys Barker, Nevada Journal Editor

Twenty-one veterans were joined by family and friends Sunday as each of them received a Quilt of Valor at a special ceremony, held at the Methodist church in Polk City. Four of the quilts presented were fully funded through an endowment grant last year from Memorial Lutheran Church.

The veterans were mostly from Polk City, but also from a few of the surrounding communities, and they represented a broad range of ages and types of military service. But the one thing they all seemed to have in common was that they were touched by receiving a special keepsake.

“I’ll cherish this daily,” said Daryl Tapper of Polk City, who served in the United States Air Force from July of 1966 to July of 1970. He has a few other special quilts, made for him by his wife, Ramona, but he said he still will hold the one he received Sunday very near to his heart.

His friend, Patricia Morton, who like Tapper is a 40-some-year resident of Polk City, said she would cherish her Quilt of Valor forever. “I’m so humbled,” she said. Morton was a member of the Women’s Army Corps from 1966-68.

The quilts were made by the Central Iowa-based Busy Bees for Quilts Of Valor (QOV) group. Busy Bees member Vicki Swensen, of rural Nevada, noted how much appreciated the funds from Memorial Lutheran Church in Nevada were. The other quilts were made, in large part, by materials donated from the Busy Bees members, who live in the central Iowa area and often meet to work at the Polk City Community Library.

“It was so wonderful to have so many veterans and their families with us today,” Swensen said following the ceremony. “Their service to our country spanned from 1941 to present day and that was so special.”

D.J. Hall, Sixth District vice commander of the American Legion, drove from her home in New Virginia to take in Sunday’s ceremony. “It’s a wonderful way to let these veterans know that they are not forgotten and we care,” Hall said. She felt it was a very nice ceremony for a very deserving group of veterans, and she enjoyed the fact that some of them were surprised by the recognition.

Earlier this year, Hall visited the Busy Bees at Swensen’s home in Nevada, where she presented a grant check worth $1,815 from the American Legion of Iowa Foundation for the group’s continued work of making these special quilts every year. Since the Busy Bees first started making Quilts of Valor in 2011 or 2012, Swensen said they’ve probably made between 100 and 150 quilts that have gone to veterans and veterans’ families near and far.

Locally, women with the Nevada American Legion will present Quilts of Valor to veterans of the Nevada area this week. Some were presented at a ceremony Wednesday and more will be presented at The Talent Factory, starting at 6 p.m. Friday evening. The community is invited to attend the special event.