Four Quilts of Valor were presented on Tuesday, November 22, during a ceremony at the Kit Carson High School. Veterans Calvin Gaynor, Tim Hogan, Kenneth Jacobs, and James Randel all received a beautiful patriotic quilt handmade by local quilter Mary Rhoades. All four men are also graduates of Kit Carson High School, so it was very fitting for the students to honor these men.
The ceremony opened with the Pledge of Allegiance led by Alex Arroyo. Kenzie Waggoner welcomed everyone and explained that the mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover Service Members and Veterans touched by war with a comforting and healing Quilt of Valor.
The foundation was formed in 2003 by a quilter named Catherine Roberts while her son was deployed to Iraq. Since that time over 325,000 Quilts of Valor have been awarded. The quilt says unequivocally, “Thank you for your service and sacrifice in serving our nation.”
Each quilt is handmade and donated by volunteers across America as an expression of their gratitude that is meant to thank veterans who sacrificed so much while serving our nation in the armed forces.
Several students at Kit Carson High School participated in the VFWs Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen contest this year. Two of those students, Paige Rady and Anna Mitchek, volunteered to share their Voice of Democracy essays with the veterans, their guests, and students who attended the ceremony.
As each quilt was wrapped around the veteran, a family member told about their service to our nation. Grandson Brayden Gaynor said his grandfather Calvin Gaynor served in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. Calvin was drafted and chose to serve in the Marines in honor of his uncle who died in the fight on Iwo Jima during World War II. He served 4 years, 4 months, 27 days, 10 hours, and 5 minutes. During his service, he worked with launch and recovery, supply, search and rescue, and was a file clerk at the Marine Corps Headquarters. Also, during his time in the Corps, he assisted with Toys for Tots and played Santa Claus for the base at El Toro, California. When he left his duty, he came back to Kit Carson, got married, and hasn’t left the area except for work. Thank you, Mr. Gaynor!
Daughter Jaime Conaway told us that her dad Tim Hogan served in the Army during the Vietnam War. He was drafted and served for 20 months. He was in the Army’s Infantry. When his service was up, he became a science teacher. He eventually made his way home to Kit Carson where he taught science and molded young minds for 50 years. Mr. Hogan, thank you so much for your service!
Granddaughter Jordyn Weeks shared that her grandfather Kenneth Jacobs served in the Army during the Vietnam War. He was drafted after college and served 2 years. Mr. Jacobs was a Dog Handler and MP who served in the 18th Police Brigade and the 212th Dog Company. His dog was named Duke. When he left the Army, he came back to the farm. He wanted to farm, because he never wanted to have someone tell him what to do after being in the Army. Mr. Jacobs, thank you so much for your service!
Granddaughter Torrie Randel told that her grandfather James Randel also served in the Army during the Vietnam War. He was drafted and served for 2 years in the Infantry where he carried an M60 machine gun. During his time, he received a Bronze Star and 2 Purple Hearts for his actions during the war. Mr. Randel, thank you for your service!
Following the presentation of the Quilts of Valor, Tess Johnson thanked quilter Mary Rhoades for her service and dedication to our veterans. On behalf of the students at Kit Carson High School, Tess presented Mary with a beautiful bouquet of flowers.
Principal Gina Dechant then thanked everyone for attending the ceremony to honor these Vietnam Veterans and Kit Carson High School Alumni. Students decorated the gym with red, white, and blue paper chains. A replica of a service medal was on the speaker’s podium.