Wisconsin Northwoods Quilts of Valor presents 4 quilts to area veterans
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By LeAnn R.Ralph
COLFAX — Members of the Wisconsin Northwoods Quilts of Valor have presented four more quilts to area veterans.
Quilts were presented to Jon Suckow, Roger Hainstock, Alan Johnson and Rodney Johnson during an American Legion Russell-Toycen Post 131 meeting at the Grapevine Senior Center in Colfax May 16.
Rodney Johnson was not present for the ceremony.
World War II Veteran Al Stai and Korean Conflict Veteran Gust Fehr received Quilts of Valor during a ceremony at the Grapevine Senior Center November 11, 2022, following the annual Veterans Day Supper sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary of Russell-Toycen Post 131 of Colfax.
Nancy Hainstock of Colfax, a member of Wisconsin Northwoods Quilts of Valor, presented the quilts May 16.
Hainstock said when she first heard about Wisconsin Northwoods Quilts of Valor, and “I learned the quilts were presented to veterans, I was all in. I definitely wanted to be part of that.”
The Quilts of Valor Foundation began in 2003 with a dream, she said.
The son of the Quilts of Valor founder, Catherine Roberts, was deployed in Iraq. Roberts had a vivid dream of a soldier wrapped in a quilt. The message of her dream was that a quilt is healing, Hainstock said.
The quilts must be hand-quilted or machine quilted, not tied, and the quilts are presented in a special ceremony to a veteran, she said.
The Quilts of Valor are not a blanket, they are an expression of gratitude meant to say thank you. The quilts are intended for all veterans as a gesture of gratitude from a grateful nation, Hainstock said.
Jon Suckow served in the United States Marines and enlisted in 1969. He went to San Diego for boot camp. In January of 1970, he was flown to Vietnam. He was in Da Nang for one day, and then President Nixon called out the Marines and Suckow was sent back to Camp Lejeune. He was trained in machine guns. Suckow was discharged in 1971.
Roger Hainstock volunteered for the draft in 1968. When he arrived in Vietnam, he was assigned to the postal unit in Long Binh. He sorted and delivered mail, and Roger Hainstock said the best part was delivering smiles to the soldiers, who were anxious to get mail from home. He was discharged in September of 1970. He received the National Defense Award, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Army Commendation Medal and an honorable discharge.
Alan Johnson served in the Army National Guard. He entered the service in 1963. He served at Fort Polk, Louisiana, heavy duty infantry. He earned expert rifle M14 in 1964, and expert pistol 45 caliber in 1968. He was discharged in 1969.
“This guy has such a big heart, he thought he should have been put down farther on the list of guys to receive a quilt. Well. That’s not the way it works, Alan. You were chosen,” Hainstock said.
Rodney Johnson was not present at the Grapevine for the American Legion meeting and presentation, in spite of efforts to call him during the meeting, and Hainstock said she would make sure he received his quilt.
The veterans also received the Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin, which is presented to veterans who served November 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975, regardless of location of service.
On the front of the pin is the American eagle and six stars, representing the six countries that fought in the Vietnam war.
Embossed on the back is “A grateful nation thanks and honors you.”
According to www.vietnamwar50th.com: “We make no distinction between veterans who served in-country, in-theater, or who were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period. All were called to serve, none could self-determine where they were stationed, and all were seen in the same way by a country that could not separate the war from the warrior, as we do today.”