Quilts awarded to veterans in Bismarck

Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 2:12 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - What first started out as a couple of patches of fabric, has now turned into a symbol of honor. The quilts made by Missouri River Quilts of Valor were awarded to 11 veterans on Tuesday evening. There was an atmosphere of thankfulness and recognition at the Bismarck Amvets.

“Vietnam, when I came home, you had to come home in civilian clothes,” Robert Olzweski of Bismarck said. “There was nobody waiting for you, to stand here to see this and to be recognized with a quilt, it’s an honor.”

Ellen Schafer got the unique experience of making her own quilt. Starting off as a tribute to herself, she included the history of military service in her family. Schafer also sewed on pictures of her fellow service members.

“I thought when I got to sleep at night, I know that I will be surrounded by the love of the soldiers I served with,” Schafer said.

A common theme that ran through the night — many of the recipients felt they did not deserve the award but were humbly honored by the gesture. Their faces lit up when the quilts were wrapped around them.

“Don’t turn them down, it is a real honor, and they make you feel great,” Dale Thomsen of Bismarck said.

More than 300,000 quilts have been awarded nationwide. The Missouri River chapter has given out 230 since 2020.

“I think my granddaughters and my grandson might be wrapped in it for a while,” Olzweski said.

Military members from the Korean and Vietnam Wars, as well as Operation Desert Storm were awarded.

To nominate a veteran or person who has been touched by war, click here.

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