Taos quilters honor local veterans

Compiled by Staci Matlock
Posted 7/11/19

The Taos Quilt and Needlecraft Guild honored a dozen local veterans who had served in campaigns from World War II to the Gulf War. Each veteran was given a handmade Quilt of Valor from a guild member …

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Taos quilters honor local veterans

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The Taos Quilt and Needlecraft Guild honored a dozen local veterans who had served in campaigns from World War II to the Gulf War. Each veteran was given a handmade Quilt of Valor from a guild member during a ceremony at Taos Plaza Thursday (July 4).

"These men and women have sacrificed their time, talents and often their health to stand up and protect our freedoms. We owe them so much more than just a simple thank you," AmyJo Clark of the Taos Quilt and Needlecraft Guild, told those gathered for the ceremony.

She said the Quilts of Valor began in 2003, when Catherine Roberts, whose son was serving in Iraq, "had a dream of wrapping those who have felt the effects of war in a quilt that would serve not only to thank them, but to warm and encourage those affected by combat. Since that time, Roberts founded the Quilts of Valor Foundation which strives to do just that. To thank those who have been touched by war, and those who have served our country with everything they possess. To date, 221,785 Quilts of Valor have been awarded nationally to men and women of all ranks, all services and all wars."

Each quilt given to a Taos-area veteran was "designed, sewn, long-armed and bound with love and a sense of giving back to those of who have given so much. These quilts have been made locally to thank members of our own community. They are awarded, not given. We hope that those of you watching today will find a moment to thank those being honored here today," Clark told the crowd

"A month ago, we watched as wreaths were laid on the beaches of Normandy to honor those men who landed as part of the D-Day assault on Europe. We watched as the men of World War II who fought and survived, the last of their generation, were honored. Today, it is my privilege and honor to help award Quilts of Valor to two men and one woman who served during World War II. Those of the Greatest Generation are quickly leaving us. But before you go, we all want to say, 'Thank you for your service,'" said Clark, before honoring World War II veterans Jose Laurano Silva and Antonio Ben Rael, who both served in the Philippines.

Clark said those who had served in more recent conflicts, "may feel they may have been serving in a thankless war, a conflict in which the country didn't care when they came home, a nation who turned its back and even to this day does not often say thank you. Let there be no mistake. We do thank you, every single one of you for your service. We appreciate your sacrifice. We honor you."

The guild is seeking World War II and Korean War veterans from Taos County to honor. If you know of someone, call the guild at (575) 779-0549.

Guild website link: sites.google.com/view/taosquilt

Veterans given Quilts of Valor on Fourth of July included:

Antonia Cardenas, Desert Storm

Jose Laurano Silva, WWII

Antonio Ben Rael, WWII

Luis Barela, Korean War

Lorry Waugh, WWII

Joe Montoya, Vietnam

John B. Gonzales, Vietnam

Fidel Medina, career Air Force

John B. Torres, career Army and National Guard

Elias (A Lee US) Tollardo, Vietnam

Denito Guillermo "Billy" Espinoza ,Vietnam, Army and career National Guard

--Compiled by Staci Matlock

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