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The Villages
Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Quilters in The Villages pay tribute to veterans for their valor

Five veterans were honored with Quilts of Valor on Tuesday at the Eisenhower Recreation Center in The Villages.

The Khaki Quilters, a chapter of the Quilting Guild of The Villages, assembled the quilts and awarded them to the veterans. The quilts are made as a thank you for their service and sacrifice to the nation.

Villager Sheila Robbins coordinated the presentation and personalization of the labels and certificates for each veteran. As a member of the Khaki Quilters and the Quilt of Valor Foundation, she has arranged the presentation of over 100 quilts since 2015.

Richard Meyer L. Kirk Lewis Richard Garst Charlie Phillips and James Bradley from left received quilts
Richard Meyer, L. Kirk Lewis, Richard Garst, Charlie Phillips and James Bradley, from left, received quilts.

“I’m very happy,” said Robbins. “All of my veterans were able to come out today.”

Richard Meyer was the first to receive a quilt at the presentation. He served in the United States Air Force as a Senior Master Sergeant from 1962-1996. During Meyer’s 34 years of service, he worked with automated flight controls on C-5 planes and was primarily stationed in Turkey.

“Thank you very much for this,” said Meyer after receiving his quilt.

L. Kirk Lewis served as a colonel from 1965-1993. He was stationed all over the world during his 28-year career. In Vietnam, Lewis flew numerous combat missions for the 1st Aviation Brigade. He was the officer in charge and coordinated redeployment activities. He also flew the last aircraft out of the country with his wife in the plane with him.

Lewis served in Germany as part of the 1st Battalion, 81st Field Artillery. He worked at Fort Sill as part of the 3rd Battalion, 9th Field Artillery and at Nation War College as an executive officer.

In addition to his quilt, Lewis was presented with a Vietnam War Commemorative Pin.

“This is an honor I never expected,” said Lewis.

James Bradley served as a sergeant in Vietnam, earning the Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Unit Citation and a Purple Heart award during his time there. He was stationed at the US AIRPAC in Vietnam from 1968-1969, after which he was stationed at the US AREUR from 1969-1971.

Bradley also received a commemorative pin for his time served in Vietnam.

“I think we can all say we did our duty to this country and represented the United States very well,” he said.

Richard Garst served as a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. He was on active duty for 13 years beginning in 1970. Garst was stationed in Lebanon and Japan throughout his service. He also worked as a recruiter in Chicago. He served in the Florida National Guard for the last seven years of his career before retiring in 2000.

“It was a great experience,” said Garst. “I wouldn’t give it away for the world.”

Charlie Phillips served as a specialist in the Army from 1997-2000. He was stationed in Bosnia for Operation Joint Guard led by NATO. Phillips drove from LaBelle to obtain his quilt because there was no Quilt of Valor group in his area.

“I thank you all for this, and I thank you all for being here,” said Phillips.

Kathy Thrall Sheila Robbins and Valerie Fitzwater from left.
Kathy Thrall, Sheila Robbins and Valerie Fitzwater, from left.

If you would like to nominate a fellow veteran for a quilt of valor, go to www.qovf.org. Enter “Sheila Robbins, The Villages” as the QOVF group leader, and the quilt request will go to Robbins for a presentation. Veterans from other states can be nominated, as well. Send a copy of the confirmation to [email protected], and she will coordinate the request.

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