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Every year, local schools put together a program honoring the veterans in their communities and all over the world. But this year, Clearwater’s class of 2018 found their own way to say thank you.
As Veteran’s Day rolled around, the Clearwater senior class began to prep for their upcoming program. This year, the students chose to focus on honoring the World War II veterans with inspiration from the foundation called the Quilts of Valor.
The Quilts of Valor (QOV) is a foundation started as just a dream by Catherine Roberts whose son was deployed in Iraq. The message of her dream was that ‘quilts = healing.’ Starting this foundation, Roberts knew the importance of quality, and that the quilts were to provide support and reliability. She began setting the guidelines that shaped the standard of excellence for the foundation.
The first QOV was awarded in 2003 to a young soldier who had lost his leg in Iraq, thus the foundation was made. This first quilt awarded showed just how much veterans around the world would come to appreciate the support.
From the first quilt on, the foundation has grown drastically by word-of-mouth and the internet. The Quilts of Valor movement has made sure to keep to their mission statement “to cover all those service members and veterans wounded physically or psychologically with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor” as they continue to grow. As of today, the QOV has awarded 171,434 quilts.
Although the Clearwater students did not go through the Quilts of Valor, they had similar motives giving them to the veterans as ‘Thank You’ quilts. All seven quilts were made by science teacher, Laurel Miller, who spent a total of 90 hours assembling them. After five hours of cutting, five hours of sewing, two hours of assembling, and three hours of binding, Miller looked at the quilts with satisfaction knowing what she had done was well-appreciated. Miller found this inspiration looking back on what Veteran’s Day meant to her.
“I was a college student during the Vietnam war and was aware of both sides of the issue. Friends served during this war and I saw the toll it took on some of them. Now I have relatives that served in Afghanistan or overseas in other areas. The sacrifice is self evident and I appreciate it. Also living/visiting some countries affected by our willingness to protect others and the citizens' response to Americans because of this is heart warming as is the opposing attitude eye opening,” said Miller.
During the program, each member of the senior class shed some light on the World War II veterans in their community and their military experiences. Among those interview and presented with a quilt were Orval Hankla, Carroll Holz, Don Maulding, Lyle Mitteis, Glenn Wolfe, Joan Hoffman, and the late William Kruger.
Tyler Wright and Cade Mlnarik had the honor of sitting down with Don Maulding who shared his experience. Wright told about Maulding’s time serving over 1 year and 1 day, while receiving the good conduct medal. Wright explained that he believes every military member, whether they served for a short or long time, overseas or not, each member matters.
“It was really nice to sit down and hear the stories. I was glad Don was open to talk about his experience, and it’s always nice to hear what they have to teach us,” said Wright. “Personally, to me. I am so thankful for those who have sacrificed and who are everyday so that we can be safe and live in the land of the free.”
Along with these stories and quilts awarded, the program included speeches from the Girls and Boys State representatives, songs by the band, and so much more.