15 veterans from the Class of 1967 were presented with Quilts of Valor at their 50th reunion this past August.
By Rose Branson, Donor and Alumni Relations Coordinator
While many people of different generations have been absorbed in Ken Burns’ recent PBS docu-series about the Vietnam War, one generation still bears the scars of that conflict. Members of Scecina's Class of 1967 are among those with personal experience and vivid memories of Vietnam.
For Peggy (Kelly) Fowley, a 1967 graduate of Scecina, her 50th class reunion brought an opportunity for a moving tribute to her classmates who served the country during the Vietnam War.
“Many of our veterans just never felt properly thanked for their service, especially those from Vietnam,” said Peggy, who knew just how she could thank them and help bring peace and closure.
She had heard of a project called Quilts of Valor, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.”
She decided in May to make quilts for 22 members of her class, most who were Vietnam-era veterans. With the reunion only three months away in August, she knew she could count on quilting help from classmates Susie (Heffernan) Prather and Kathy (McGinty) Dullaghan. She also sought advice from another classmate, Tom Green, who was in charge of the veterans committee for their reunion
Each quilt, according to Peggy, took around two weeks to make and in total 22 quilts were made. “It was worth doing because there wasn’t a dry eye in the place” when the quilts were presented at the reunion at the Marriott East.
The most important part of the Quilts of Valor is the presentation, when each veteran is called forward by rank and name, and wrapped in his or her own special quilt.
“The quilts were formally presented to each veteran by Lt. Col. Lisa Kopczynski and they must be certified, which means regulated and counted for,” said Peggy.
When it came time for the presentation, the first Scecina veteran from the Class of 1967 was called up.
“At first, he was a little confused,” said Peggy, “But then, after the second veteran walked up, everyone began to become very emotional, especially those receiving the quilts.”
Click here to watch a video of the presentation. Lt. Col. Lisa Kopczynski helped present the Quilts of Valor and was presented her own quilt for her service. Lt. Col. Kopszynski is actively serving 30+ years in the Indiana Army National Guard and was deployed to Iraq in 2008. Her parents, Michael and Martha (Griffo) Bell, are both Scecina graduates from the Class of 1961.
The emotional presentation healed some wounds for veterans in the class. Some excerpts from those in attendance:
“It was the emotional highlight of the evening.”
“You helped melt away that anger, you have ripped out those terrible seeds by honoring him with the Quilt of Valor.”
“The honor you bestowed on your classmates was without parallel.”
“He never let go of the anger in the pit of his stomach. He said when he was wrapped in that quilt on Saturday, the anger was just lifted from him. He said he never felt so unburdened since his return.”
“I don’t think I have EVER seen him so proud of anything before.”
“If I’m down and need a hug, I can just go get the quilt.”
“The evening of the reunion, many classmates came up to tell us how much they appreciated the time and efforts we made in producing the quilts. It was emotional for all of us.”
If it wasn’t for people like Peggy, Susie and Kathy, some of those wounds still might not have been healed.
To learn more on the Quilts of Valor, please visit: www.qovf.org
Posted on Wed, October 4, 2017
by Rose Timpe filed under