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ND group presents 'Quilts of Valor' to veterans, including one who was at Iwo Jima

Veteran Isle Vangerud is awarded a "Quilt of Valor" at an award ceremony at Richland Elementary School in Abercrombie, N.D. Jordan Ryan / WDAY

ABERCROMBIE, N.D. — It was no ordinary celebration honoring veterans at Richland Elementary School Thursday, Nov. 7, when a group of women who make "Quilts of Valor" presented quilts to five veterans, including one who was at Iwo Jima in World War II.

The Red River Quilters have delivered 73 of them to veterans this past year and a half. Once a month, the women gather to cut, piece, sew and bind the "Quilts of Valor."

"All of our quilters love the quilt, but the most rewarding part of it is actually awarding the veterans their quilts," said member Lori Loff.

On Thursday, students at Richland Elementary in Abercrombie belted out patriotic songs in preparation for Veterans Day. Sitting in the audience was 94-year-old Isle Vangerud, who was drafted into the Marines at age 18 and served in the South Pacific during World War II in one of the war's biggest battles: Iwo Jima.


Vangerud recalls the historic moment when his fellow Marines raised the flag atop Mount Suribachi.

"We were under constant barrage from the time we landed there and we heard this cheering," Vangerud remembers. "We looked up and they were planting the flag up there ... that was great."

The quilters presented Isle with a quilt of valor as a way of saying thanks more than 70 years after his time in the Marines.

Starting with 12 members, the Red River Quilters organized in April 2018 under the nonprofit Quilts of Valor Foundation. The foundation is a national organization founded in 2003 by Blue Star mom and quilter Catherine Roberts of Seaford, Del. The message of her dream was simple: Quilts equal healing.

"On each quilt, there is a label that will tell you a little bit about this quilt, generally who pieced it, who quilted it and who finished the quilt by binding the quilt," said quilter Deb Mitskog.

Veterans who received a quilt Thursday in Abercrombie were Gary Williams, Dustin DeVillers, Travis Hackey, and Isel Vangerud.

Quilts are also being presented in Colfax, N.D. on Sunday, Nov. 10 to Darrell Heyen, Leonard Heyen, Rickie Stubson and Adam Fashold.


For more information on the Quilts of Valor Foundation, visit their website .

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

Contact Email: kwallevand@wday.com
Phone Number: (701) 241-5317
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