Because of everything he has given, local resident, Oliver “O.J.” Aune, has now received a touching gift. A “Quilt of Valor” was awarded to Aune during a presentation at his home on July 23rd.

Quilts of Valor is an organization that presents quality-made quilts to war veterans to show gratitude for their service, sacrifice and valor in serving our nation.

The Quilts of Valor Foundation began in 2003 with a dream, literally a dream. Founder Catherine Roberts’ son Nat was deployed in Iraq. According to the foundation’s website Roberts said, ”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. Then, as if viewing a movie, I saw him in the next scene wrapped in a quilt.”

From the beginning, Roberts had definite ideas about standards of excellence for Quilts of Valor. Quilts would be “awarded,” not just passed out. A Quilt of Valor would say unequivocally, “Thank you for your service, sacrifice, and valor” in serving our nation in combat. The first quilt was awarded in November 2003 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to a young soldier from Minnesota who had lost his leg in Iraq.

A recipient might receive a quilt that was made from a complete stranger for across the country, but that was not the case for Aune. His quilt was made with love by his sister-in-law, Diane Peterson. Kathy Krug, from Cameron, represented the Quilts of Valor foundation at a presentation that took place at Aune’s home. His friends and family were able to listen as Krug described his experiences in the Vietnam War. Krug along with Aune’s grandson, Tyler, wrapped his new quilt around him. He was then presented with a certificate and a pin from the United States Department of Defense.

From Robert’s home in Seaford, Delaware, the Quilts of Valor movement has spread across the nation and beyond through the power of word-of-mouth and the Internet. An Iraqi war veteran said of the program in 2005, “my quilt isn’t another military medal to be placed in a box and sit on my shelf. I was moved to tears.”

To become involved with Quilts of Valor and find the requirements for the quilts, visit the foundation’s website at qovf.org.

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