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Local Veterans Presented With Quilts Of Valor

Pictured in front from left are C. Robert Ostrander, World War II U.S. Army veteran; George Spitale, Vietnam War U.S. Army veteran; Bernard Dobbins, WWII U.S. Navy veteran; Deborah Garcia, Desert Shield and Desert Storm veteran. Also pictured are Barbara Reichard, Ruth Shatzel, Shannon Taylor, William Dorman and Jackson Harper. Submitted photo

Four veterans were recently presented with Quilts of Valor as a thank you for the duties they performed while serving in the military.

A ceremony was held at Christ First United Methodist Church in Jamestown, where the veterans meet for Fenton History Center’s Vets Finding Vets program. On March 12, C. Robert Ostrander, George Spitale, Bernard Dobbins and Deborah Garcia were presented with the intricate quilts.

Barb Cessna, Vets Finding Vets project coordinator, said the presentation was a great way to recognize the veterans for their service and sacrifice. “It was a wonderful opportunity for these veterans to be reminded that their wartime service is remembered and appreciated by family, friends and the community,” Cessna said. “The quilters sew in all of their patriotic feelings and always hope that the veteran who receives their finished quilts will feel their hugs.”

During the presentation of the quilts, three members of the Civil Air Patrol were on hand to provide an escort for each veteran as they moved to the seat of honor and then back to their seats.

Cindy Reidy, program coordinator of the PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans’ Peer to Peer program, provided a patriotic cake. Lt. Col. Ellen Maternowski, commander of the Jamestown Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol, and Connie Pilato of Christ First Church, were also in attendance.

Later in the day, a presentation was made to John Ludwiczak, a World War II member of the 3rd Cavalry Unit, which boasted several other local members who continued to meet years after the war.

A similar award was made just before Christmas 2021, when Paul Arnone was the recipient for his WWII service during the second wave at Normandy, France. This presentation sparked a QOV project that continues; new nominations can still be made by visiting qovf.org/

Cessna said Quilts of Valor continues to accept applications for veterans to receive quilts. She said other quilts will soon be awarded to local veterans.

“Members will be coming back to present those quilts and there may be more because I know there were more in the pipeline,” she said. “This is probably going to be an ongoing thing. We have so many veterans in this area that deserve the honor.”

Cessna said she is thankful for the quilters and administrators who make the Quilts of Valor Western New York chapter what it is, as well as the Civil Air Patrol members who participated.

Vets Finding Vets is a program founded at the Fenton History Center to continue the legacy of the Fenton Mansion of hosting veteran-related meetings as well as efforts to help veterans over the years. The group meets regularly and offers local veterans the chance to meet one another and provides free access to the Fenton Research Center for veterans, active military members and reservists. The services allow them to begin or continue their family history, locate old service buddies and gather information regarding soldiers buried in Chautauqua County cemeteries.

Quilts of Valor is a national program that began in 2003. Volunteer teams in chapters across the country donate time and materials to make a quilt that is then presented to a nominated veteran as a thank you for the veteran’s service, sacrifice and valor in serving the nation. All quilts made in Chautauqua County are awarded to veterans in Chautauqua.

For more information on becoming a quilter for the project or to nominate a veteran for the program, contact Cessna at 716-664-6256. To help fund the materials needed to produce the quilts for Chautauqua County Veterans, checks can be mailed to WNY Quilters for a Cause, 2700 Woodlawn Ave, Hamburg, NY, 14075.

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