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Seven veterans receive Quilts of Valor

By Makenna Mays, Staff Writer

The Quilt Batts members held their third annual Quilts of Valor program at the American Legion on Sunday, June 9.

The Quilt Batts were able to present seven service members with Quilts of Valor.

Quilts of Valor is a national organization whose mission is to cover service members and veterans with comforting and healing quilts of valor. These quilts are made by volunteers and are either presented locally or through the national organization. Including the quilts that were presented this year, Quilt Batts have given 32 quilts to veterans.

“We're just a bunch of ladies that like to buy beautiful fabric and then cut it up and sew it back together again,” joked Nancy Bodnar, president of the Quilt Batts.

As of May 2019, 220,019 quilts have been awarded to active duty military personnel and veterans across the nation. The quilts from the June 9 ceremony will be added to that total.

The first quilt of the evening was presented to the family of Lawrence Rosenberger. Sgt. Lawrence Rosenberger was inducted into the U.S. Army in October of 1942 at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indiana. He shipped out to England on June 6, 1944 on a troop ship. When he arrived in England, he joined the aircrew.

Rosenberger flew his first combat mission in July of 1944 with no losses. In another mission in 1944, they were shot down by anti-aircraft fire and bailed out over Germany. They were captured and were part of the Death March in Germany which lasted 86 days and covered 600 miles. They were liberated in 1945, and Lawrence was discharged in October of 1945.

Lawrence Rosenberger's quilt was presented to his son, Sgt. Mike Rosenberger. Mike followed in his father's footsteps and enlisted in the Air force in 1966. He was discharged in January of 1970.

The second quilt recipient was Frank Deutsch, 85, and a native of Brookville. He began serving in 1956, and served six months in Korea. He was stationed close to where the peace talks were held. There were about 50 members of the company who were responsible for patrolling the 22-mile corridor between the two Koreas. He left Korea in 1958 and left the military in 1962.

Donald Wendel was presented with the third quilt. Wendel was part of the 434 Troop Carrier Wing for the Air Force. He was an airman first class and spent six months on active duty before going to the reserves. He was called back to active duty in 1962 when the Cuban Missile Crisis became a concern. Luckily, it was resolved.

Jerry Crawford received the fourth quilt. He served in the Army from 1968-1969. He served in Vietnam where he often worked at restoring power to generators. Some of his awards include the overseas badge, Vietnam service medal and the good conduct medal.

Dan Bridgeford was the recipient of the fifth quilt. He began in the Army in October of 1965, and said he still remembers his Greyhound bus ride from Brookville to Cincinnati for his physical and swearing in. Bridgeford volunteered for the service, as was the family tradition, and was deployed to Vietnam after combat training. He was part of the 11th Calvary Regiment known as the Blackhorse. They left from Oakland, California on three World War II ships, and arrived in Vietnam 16 days later. Bridgeford said he still has nightmares about a night when the 276th North Vietnamese Regiment attempted to overrun their base camp. They have a Blackhorse reunion every year which Bridgeford attends.

Jim Sottong received the sixth quilt, which was a collaboration quilt among members of the Quilt Batts. Sottong enlisted in the Army in 1967 and was sent to Vietnam. He was a medic, and out of the four medics sent out, he was one of two who came back home. Sottong was discharged in 1970.

The final quilt recipient was Joe Freismuth. Freismuth is the nephew of Bodnar. He enlisted in the Navy in June 2010. Freismuth was part of the Basic Underwater Demolition Seal class, and was assigned to Seal Team 7 from 2012-2018. Freismuth completed three deployments and was a Purple Heart recipient.