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Walter Bates, Dwight Lessenden, and Richard Glover.

Kiowa County Veterans Honored with Quilts of Valor


By Raina Lucero

November 30, 2022

November 11, 2022 at the Kiowa County Fairgrounds, representatives to the Quilts of Valor members and volunteers all over the country, Carole Spady and Michelle Nelson presented 3 veterans from 3 different branches of the military with the honorary Quilt of Valor for their sacrifice and service to our country.

In an opening statement Carole Spady spoke of the Quilts of Valor mission, “Our mission is to honor service members and veterans who have been touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor. We define valor as strength of mind, spirit, courage, and the quality of mind enabling someone to face danger or hardship. Each quilt brings a three-part message from our hearts. First, we honor you for your service, for leaving all that you hold dear and for standing in harm’s way in a time of crisis protecting us from the effects of war. Next, our quilters know that freedom is never free. The cost of freedom is the dedication of men and women like you. This quilt is meant to say thank you for your sacrifice. And finally, the quilt is meant to offer you comfort and remind you that you are forever in our thoughts and our hearts. You are appreciated. You are remembered. For those of us who have never seen combat, who have never been in a war zone, such experiences are beyond our capacity to comprehend, but we believe that these Quilts of Valor have the ability to offer both warmth and comfort. We hope that when you experience a hard time or need the warmth of a grateful hug you will wrap the quilt around yourself, and it will provide you the comfort that we have sewn into every seam.”

Spady first introduced Walter Bates to those who were in attendance.

“Walter Bates entered the US Army and did his basic training at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where he specialized in Weapons and Munitions training. After two years in the US Army, Walter transferred into the US Air Force. It was at this time he attended Flight and Aircraft Electrical Maintenance school at Shepard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas. He was next stationed at March Air Force Base in Riverside, California, then transferred to Anderson Air Force Base in the US Territory of Guam.

From 1960-1963 Walter was stationed at the F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Warren Air Force Base is one of the three strategic missile bases in the United States. Remember, it was the Cold War and in 1962 while Walter was stationed at Warren Air Force Base there was a direct and dangerous confrontation between the US and Soviet Union. The 13-day confrontation of the positioning of nuclear missiles on the island of Cuba otherwise known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. Walter’s job at Warren Air Force Base was in Operational Maintenance and fuel systems of the “Atlas Intercontinental Ballistic Missile/with nuclear warhead. Walter left the Air Force in 1963 and returned to civilian life.”

Spady also went on to introduce Dwight Lessenden.

“A Kiowa County native, Dwight graduated from Eads High School in May of 1961. Busy going to college, working on a ranch, he received his invitation to join the United States Military, via the draft, in April 1965. Dwight did his basic training in the Missouri Ozark Mountains at Fort Leonard Wood, or as he fondly calls it, Fort Lost in the Woods. The post motto at that time was if you couldn’t pick it up, paint it!

After boot camp, Dwight found himself in Aberdeen, Maryland. Aberdeen was to provide soldiers with the right technology in order to serve the interest of the United States of America. After his schooling in Aberdeen, he was off to Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. This is the home of the 25th Infantry known as the Tropic Lightning Division. After 4 months in Hawaii, Dwight had to leave his new-found love of fresh pineapple behind and board a troop ship bound for Saigon, Viet Nam. He was transferred to Cu Chi Military base- the 25th Infantry Division and served as backup maintenance support for the 725th Division. Upon arriving at the 25th Infantry site, it was found to be a peanut field and building a base there was the first order of business.

Proving that it is a small world, while in Viet Nam, Dwight ran into two other Southeast Colorado residents. One was his cousin’s husband, Denny Matthews from Kit Carson and the other was Red King. One of the memorable times in the service was an R & R in Malaysia.

Dwight received an early out in March of 1967. He was supposed to be in Viet Nam for 12 months and was out in 11 months. He was discharged from Travis Air Force Base in San Diego, California. Overjoyed to be on American soil he fought the urge to kneel and kiss the ground. Travis Air Force base will always hold a special place in his heart.

Dwight continued the life he loves, farming and ranching, meeting the love of his life, Bonnie, and starting his family. When Dwight and Bonnie started a family, they named their first born, Travis, after the first American soil Dwight got to touch after 11 months in Viet Nam. Dwight went on to have that family he had dreamed of.”

Lastly, Michelle Nelson introduced Richard Glover.

“Richard served in the Navy from 1979 to 1999. He started Boot Camp in San Diego, California in April of 1979. He then went to Pensacola as a student at a CTM School and studied sea going satellite communications and electronic surveillance for two years. He then served on the USS Buck from June of 1981 to July of 1984. Richard then returned to Pensacola as an Instructor until 1987 when he went to Pearl Harbor for direct support, installation, and maintenance of equipment for surface and subsurface communications. He then went back to sea in 1990 and was deployed in support of the Persian Gulf War. He then transferred to Imperial Beach, California in 1993 until 1996. From 1996 to 1999, Richard facilitated the transfer of Space and Naval warfare systems and their new product development from Crystal City, Virginia to San Diego, California. Richard retired as a Chief Petty Officer.

Richard received many medals and honors. Some of them include: 2 Navy commendation medals, the Navy achievement medal, the Navy meritorious unit commendation for the Persian Gulf War, the Humanitarian Service medal for saving 54 Vietnamese refugees, the Southwest Asia Service medal for Desert Storm, the Battle E honor for Battle Efficiency, 5 good conduct awards, 2 sea service deployment ribbons, as well as various other ribbons and honors.

These quilts are an expression of gratitude meant to thank and comfort the Veterans. “We honor you for leaving all you hold dear to serve whether in time of crisis or in time of peace. This Quilt of Valor unequivocally says thank you for your service, sacrifice and valor serving our nation. On behalf of the Quilts of Valor Foundation, welcome home and thank you for allowing us to recognize you.”

These gentlemen will also receive a certificate that states, “The Quilts of Valor Foundation wishes to recognize you for your service to our nation. We consider it our privilege to do so. Though we may never know the extent of your sacrifice to protect and defend the United States of America, we award you the Quilt of Valor as an expression of gratitude from a grateful nation.”

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