Three veterans from Grady County representing the Navy, Army/National Guard and the Air Force were recognized recently for their dedicated service to the United States and our armed forces. Each veteran was presented with a Quilt of Honor that was handmade by members of the Grady County Oklahoma Home and Community Education group.
Those honored with the quilts include Joe McIntosh, who served during Vietnam; Gordon Spangler, World War II veteran; and Harold Gillenwaters, who served during Vietnam. Veteran David Terry, who was a prisoner of war, was unable to attend the event and will be presented with his quilt at a later date.
Nancy Warden, chairman of OHCE’s Family Issues Committee, said one of the goals of the group is to provide support to local veterans and active military and their families.
“When we set our goals at the beginning of the year, our number one goal was to support military families, veteran hospitals and the local Disabled American Veterans. This is connected to the state OHCE family goals of encouraging support to military families by forming support groups and including them in group and county activities,” Warden said. “Our main event this year was to select four veterans to say thank you to in a very special way with an honor quilt.”
Two of the quilts were Grady County OHCE group projects in which 30 members were involved in making the quilt blocks. The other two quilts were made and donated by OHCE member Patsy Linn. Two other members, Shirley Burns and Elain Bitche, finished the quilt tops and quilted them.
Spangler, who is 101 years old, was honored to receive the quilt and said he was simply doing his job.
Gillenwaters, who initially said there were others more deserving of this honor, said his family will treasure the quilt.
McIntosh had a scheduling conflict with the quilt presentation, but was able to work around that and be present to receive his quilt.
“Our OHCE group was so happy to recognize these gentlemen and honor them for their service,” Warden said.
Liz Taylor, Grady County OSU Cooperative Extension director, said the OHCE organization has such a positive impact on the community.
“Grady County OHCE provides hundreds of hours of community service. They also donate more than $3,000 in scholarships to youth and adults in the area,” Taylor said. “Our members provide help to the pregnancy crisis center I Can, the DAV and the Life Skills Institute. Our elementary aged children benefit from group members going into the schools to read. You’ll also find them helping at the Resurrection House and the Chickasha Soup Kitchen. In addition, they are big supporters of the county’s 4-H and FFA programs. The members truly care about our community and stay active in many ways that make the communities in Grady County better places to live.”
Taylor also pointed out how remarkable it is to see the amount of time and energy the OHCE members put into changing the lives of people in the community.
“From the Quilts of Honor to teaching sewing and cooking skills, they always have something going,” she said. “Right now, they’re collecting hats, gloves, socks and blankets for the Grady County Sheriff’s Department and first responders to distribute to fire victims. I’m just amazed at the projects they take on and the hundreds of lives they change for the best every day.”
OHCE is a program of continuing education in all aspects of home and community life. The organization's ultimate mission is to educate its members to be well-informed and able to handle change in their homes and communities. Through its relationship with the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, OHCE presents research-based information to its members. For more information about OHCE, contact Taylor at 405-224-2216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.