100-year-old WWll veterans recieve Quilts of Valor

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MEXICO - Two local veterans approaching 100-years-old received Quilts of Valor on Sunday afternoon.

Lucian E. Byrd and Robert A. Poage were recipients of the honor at the Missouri Veterans Home in Mexico, Missouri.

Byrd and Poage are Word War II veterans and were apart of the U.S. Army Air Corps. 

Poage's specialty was engineering and testing radars.  

Byrd explained how he had flown over the U.S.S Missouri as the signing of the peace treaty was happening in Tokyo Bay. 

Both veterans were surprised and happy to receive this honor. 

"It is hard to explain. It was nice to hear," said Poage. 

"OH! Fantastic, fantastic. I appreciate it very much," said Byrd. 

The name of the quilt for Poage is Liberty, and the name for Byrd is Old Glory. Both quilts were pieced together by a member of County Line Quilts Joyce Lowry.

The story of the quilt started with a dream.

"Blue Star" mom Catherine Roberts had a dream of her son Nathanael, who was serving in the military, sitting in the hospital on the side of a bed depressed. The next second, he was covered with a large quilt. The quilt would symbolize as a sign of healing. 

Roberts began Quilts of Valor Foundation (QOVF) in 2003 from her sewing room in Seaford, Delaware. 

The QOFV rewards quilts to serve as tangible reminders of appreciation and gratitude to service members. QOVs are lifetime awards, stitched with love, prayers and healing thoughts. 

The purpose of the organization's mission statement is to cover all the service members touched by war. 

Chair for County Line Quilts of Valor Christi Hoffman awarded the two veterans with the QOV. 

"Quilts of Valor will be awarded, not just passed around like magazines or videos," Hoffman said. "Today, over 212,000 quilts of valor have been rewarded to veterans and service members." 

Missouri State Coordinator of QOVF Linda Martien explained how the foundation works.

"Nationwide in every state we are divided in groups of volunteers who sew the quilts and present them to veterans and service people who have been touched by war," said Martien. "It is rewarding to see that we are finally recognizing and honoring these veterans for their service." 

In order to receive a quilt, individuals or family members can go to the QOVF web page and send a request for a quilt to be provided to a service member or veteran. After receiving the request, Martien assigns the nearest group or sponsor to make the quilt. 

Martien notes that the quilt can take anywhere from three to six months to make. After that's done, a date is set to present the quilt. 

The family noted how this is special for both of these veterans as they have maintained a friendship for years.

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