The Hebron High School Class of 1961proudly watched as five of their own, Rodney Egbarts, Robert Juedes, Stanley Killinger, Ken Menke and John Schroeder were honored for their service to the country as the alumni’s Memorial Day weekend got underway.
One by one, handcrafted Quilts of Valor were draped around the veterans, all of whom served in the U.S. Army. The quilts were made by the Piecemakers Quilts of Valor sewing group. Also honored was quilter Sharon Hulse who has made 43 tops. The Piecemakers have given approximately 600 quilts to veterans to continue the national QOV mission.
A brief description of the five veterans’ service was read:
Rodney Egbarts — U.S. Army National Guard, served from 1966-1972, Platoon leader at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., advanced training at Fort Leonard Wood and Fort Carson, Colo.
Robert Juedes — U.S. Army, 1961-1964, advanced training at Fort Rucke, Ala., for aviation maintenance, served 13 months in Vietnam.
Stanley Killinger — U.S. Army, 1961-1964, 7th Army Headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany in 1962.
Ken Menke — U.S. Army, 1966-1968, advanced training at Fort Dix, N.J., infantry, served in Vietnam from December of 1967 to August of 1968.
John Schroeder — U.S. Army, 1966-1969, advanced training at Kessler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss., for air traffic controller, served in Vietnam 1968-1969 for 25th Infantry Division in operations.
Schroeder said their responsibilities included the highest use of Agent Orange than any other section of the country. As a result, Schroeder suffers from multiple myeloma.
He was discharged July 4, 1968 and able to celebrate Independence Day twice, once in Vietnam and the second at home in the US.
Representing QOV Betty Edzards was at the gathering read the history of the QOV mission that included founder Catherine Roberts’ personal testimony of a dream she had that showed a young man draped in a quilt while her own son, Nat, was deployed in Iraq.
Nebraska Quilts of Valor have been spotted on gurneys of the U.S. Army Hospital in Landstuhl, Germany as plane loads of injured soldiers arrived and kept them warm for the long flight home.
As of Memorial Day, 271,408 QOV’s had been wrapped around veterans. In 2015, because of dropping numbers of deployments, the QOV Foundation board voted to focus on veterans at home.
The Piecemakers were formed in February of 2016 to thank and honor active military personnel and veterans, and are an official group of the national QOV with 44 registered members from 16 Nebraska communities.
Most of the members meet once a month to sew quilts at the Bruning Opera House or the Ohiowa Auditorium. Phyllis Schoenholz is the state south central coordinator for the QOV Foundation. A second sewing group for Piecemakers is in Fairbury.