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Thirteen veterans honored at Crawford County Fair
Quilts of Valor
The thirteen veterans honored at the ‘Quilts of Valor’ award ceremony at the Crawford County Fair, are seen with the 4-H Club members who created the quilts standing behind. The veterans honored, from left, include Brian Dombeck, Nathan Stevenson, Ben Lathrop, Joe Roberts, David Dombeck, Jason Hubanks, Jayden McCullick, Ray Konichek, Evert Olson, Ray Gills and Peder Payne. Not present were Cliff Tollefson and John Swanson.

Thirteen veterans were honored on Sunday at the Crawford County Fair by the organization ‘Quilts of Valor.’ The ceremony was organized by Sue Lynch of the Pickett Fence Patriotic Piercers, the local chapter of the nationwide organization.

“The quilts to be awarded today were made by the Crawford County 4-H sewing group,” Lynch explained. “This group has been making the quilts we award for the last five years, and I have four 4-H members that have been with me the whole time – Gracie, Grant and Garrett Sime, and Rylie Cook.”

Lynch said that for this year’s sewing effort, two additional 4-H Clubs had asked to participate, and the ‘Explore 4-H’ day camps also joined the effort. She noted that Jacob and Ben Payne “had never sewn before,” but had each made a quilt.

Veterans honored

The veterans honored were:

QOV_Jason Hubanks
Jason Hubanks, Marines, January 2006 to January 2010; Iraq War – January 2008 to September 2008; quilt made by members of the Wonder Workers 4-H Club of Prairie du Chien
QOV_David Dombeck
David Dombeck, Army 1964-1966; quilt made by Gracie Sime
QOV_Brian Dombeck
Brian Dombeck, Army 1968-1970; quilt made by Garrett Sime
QOV_Evert Olson
Evert Olson, Marines 1957-1960; quilt made by Grant Sime
QOV_Peder Payne
Peder Payne, Army 1988-1991; quilt made by his son Jacob Payne
QOV_Ben Lathrop
Ben Lathrop, Army Reserve 1998-2004; quilt made by Rylie Cook
QOV_Joe Roberts
Joe Roberts, Army; quilt made by his niece Sawyer Roberts
QOV_Ray Konichek
Ray Konichek, Navy; quilt made by his niece Sawyer Roberts
QOV_Nathan Stevenson
Nathan Stevenson, Marines 2002-2006; quilt made by members of the Happy Hi-Liters 4-H Club, Seneca
QOV_Jayden McCullick
Jayden McCullick, Air Force 2002-2006, Operation Iraqi Freedom August 2003 to September 2008; quilt made by members of the Wonder Workers 4-H Club of Prairie du Chien
QOV_Don Stovey
Don Stovey, Navy 1969-1970; quilt made by Explore 4-H Day Camp in Prairie du Chien participants
QOV_Ray Gills
Ray Gills, Navy, 1999-2007; quilt made by Explore 4-H Day Camp in Wauzeka participants

Two veterans were not present for the ceremony, and will be honored and presented with their quilts at a Happy Hi-Liters 4-H Club chapter meeting. Those two veterans are:

• Cliff Tollefson, Army 1968-1969; quilt made by Jacob Payne; and

• John Swanson, Army 1971-1972; quilt made by Millie Dahlberg.

Local and national

Donations to the Pickett Fence Patriotic Piercers can be made online by going to the Quilts of Valor Foundation website, and clicking on the ‘donate’ button. To donate to the local chapter, search for ‘Group 54054.’

According to the organization’s website, the Quilts of Valor Foundation began in 2003 with a dream, liter-ally a dream. Founder Catherine Roberts’ son Nat was deployed in Iraq.  According to Catherine:

“The dream was as vivid as real life. I saw a young man sitting on the side of his bed in the middle of the night, hunched over. The permeating feeling was one of utter despair. I could see his war demons clustered around, dragging him down into an emotional gutter. Then, as if viewing a movie, I saw him in the next scene wrapped in a quilt. His whole demeanor changed from one of despair to one of hope and well-being. The quilt had made this dramatic change. The message of my dream was:  Quilts = Healing.”

Lynch said that the quilts are awarded to veterans that were injured or touched by war. She said that offering them the quilt is a way to thank them for their service and sacrifice.

“The tops of the quilts represent community, love, gratitude, and sometimes tears,” Lynch said. “The batting in the middle represents warmth and hope, and is intended to bring peace and comfort. The backing of the quilt represents strength of the individual, the com-munity and the nation.”

Lynch said that the effort had grown nationally from small beginnings to over 300,000 quilts as of April 2022.