North Iowa veterans receive quilt of valor: 'I love the smiles, and their eyes light up'

During a ceremony on Friday, 10 veterans became the latest recipients to receive a special gift in honor of their service

Posted: May 24, 2019 11:37 PM
Updated: May 25, 2019 7:27 AM

NORA SPRINGS, Iowa - Memorial Day weekend is here, a time where we pay tribute to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Now, some living veterans are receiving a special gift in honor of their service - a Quilt of Valor - during a ceremony at the American Legion in Nora Springs on Friday afternoon.

One of the recipients of a quilt is Michael Woodhouse. He joined the Navy in 1967.

"Me and one other guy says 'we're going to get drafted anyway, let's go join the Navy.'"

He spent three years in the service, plus 20 years in the reserves afterward, and retired as a Chief Petty Officer. He's one of 10 veterans that received a quilt during the ceremony and is blown away by how much detail goes into each one.

"These women bend over backward, and these quilts are so beautiful. It's unbelievable how much time goes into them."

Leona Montag not only makes the quilts but also gathers nominations and does quilt presentations in Cerro Gordo, Floyd, Mitchell and Worth Counties. The reactions she gets from veterans put a smile on her face.

"I love the smiles, and their eyes light up. And for some, for Vietnam in particular, they've never had a thank you. Sometimes, this is the first they had."

While she and her group can make around 6-8 quilts a month, they're always looking for more volunteers and donations.

"Right now, a lot of the costs are being covered by the individuals that are making the quilts, so that can sometimes limit how many you make."

Since its beginnings in 2003, around 218,000 quilts have been given to veterans nationwide. If you or a veteran you know would like to receive a quilt, click here.

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