Ten veterans were honored for their service and sacrifice on Nov. 4 by the Grateful Quilters, a local chapter of the national Quilts of Valor Foundation.
Each veteran was awarded a quilt made by the local group and presented in a special ceremony held at the Charles Mack Citizen Center. Family and friends also attended the presentation, which was followed by a reception for the special guests.
The event began with the posting of colors and Pledge of Allegiance by members of the honor guard from Richard’s Coffee Shop. These included Ralph Dagenhart, a U.S. Army veteran; Dave Phillips, a U.S. Navy veteran; and Deiter Kramer, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.
Sharon Bormann, the group leader of the Grateful Quilters, welcomed everyone to the presentation and introduced the other members of the group, which included Cathy Solomonson, Jean Cable, Donna Jolly, Susan Weaver, Margaret McKinney, Sandy Palmer and Tina Coffman.
Bormann shared the history of the Quilts of Valor Foundation, which she said “began in 2003 when a quilter named Catherine Roberts came up with the idea of comforting veterans during the time her son was deployed in Iraq as a Humvee gunner. She had a dream seeing her son wrapped in a quilt being comforted during the war. Therefore, she and some friends decided to start making quilts and sharing them. The first Quilt of Valor was awarded in November 2003, and since that time, more than 232,000 have been awarded in the United States.”
“It is an honor for me to award Quilts of Valor on behalf of the Quilts of Valor Foundation to 10 veterans today,” said Bormann. “Seven were nominated by Mooresville Centerpiece Quilt Guild members and three were nominated by a relative or friend or requested through the national Quilts of Valor Foundation website.”
Bormann continued by noting the three-part message to the veterans, which was: “First we honor you for your service in our armed forces. We honor you for leaving all you hold dear whether in a time of crisis or a time of peace.
“Our quilters know that freedom is not free,” she continued. “The cost of our freedom is the dedication of men and women like you, and this quilt is meant to say thank you for your sacrifice.”
And lastly, she noted that “the quilt you will receive is meant to offer comfort to you, for you are forever in our thoughts and our hearts.”
Each veteran’s name was called, and they and a family member went to the front, where the veteran was wrapped in their quilt and their military history was read.
The veterans and their history are as follows:
Mac McCabe served in the U.S. Army Ordnance from 1951-57, attaining the rank of specialist fifth class. He was assigned to Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland, where he received training to be an ordnance supply specialist; Tokyo and Yokonami, Japan; as well as Fort Drum, New York.
McCabe is known for his accomplishment of converting supply inventory documents from pencil and paper to IBM mark sense, punch-card and page-scanning technology that allowed cards of pages marked with a pencil to be processed or converted into punched cards. This allowed better access to the inventory available as well as being much more up to date.
Upon leaving the military, he was an automotive technician. He retired in 2006, and he and his wife reside in Statesville.
Larry Pagoota served in the Army from September 1961 to September 1963. Serving in the 101st Airborne Division, he was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, West Point, New York, and Fort Benning, Georgia, where he attended Airborne School. He completed infantry training and sniper school.
Pagoota was assigned to Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. At West Point, he taught military training. After he left the military, he was a fireman in Charlotte for eight years and then began his own heating and air business.
Gary Lea Bales served in the U.S. Air Force from 1964 to 1968 as a jet aircraft mechanic. He was assigned to Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas; Amarillo, Texas; Charleston AFB in North Charleston, South Carolina, Azores Salud, Portugal and Dover, Delaware.
Bales attained the rank of staff sergeant in three years and, upon leaving the Air Force, he worked for United Parcels Service, from which he has retired.
Rick Dynesius served in the U.S. Navy from April 1966 to December 1970 as a Hospitalman (HM3) in the Hospital Corps and the Pharmacy Service. He was assigned to Naval Station Great Lakes Training Center for boot camp; U.S. Navy Hospital Memphis, Tennessee, U.S. Navy School of Pharmacy, San Diego, California, and U.S. Navy Hospital, Beaufort, South Carolina.
All of Dynesius’ military service occurred during the Vietnam War. He treated many wounded personnel flown in from Vietnam and Cambodia. Once he became a pharmacy technician, he worked at the Naval Hospital in Beaufort, South Carolina, serving mostly Marine personnel from Parris Island, their dependents and retirees.
The training he received during his military service provided the foundation for a professional career in pharmaceutical sales and other fields of pharmacy.
Philip Michael (Mike) Kidd served in the U.S. Army from May 20, 1967 to May 19, 1970, and then again from Nov. 8, 1972 to Nov. 7, 1975. From March 1968 to March 1969, he served in Bien Hoa, Vietnam, just north of Saigon with the Headquarters CO 5th Battalion, 12th Infantry Brigade, 199th Light Infantry Division.
Other assignments have included Fort Lewis, Washington and Fort Carson, Colorado. Kidd performed as a MOS-63C wheel and truck mechanic and was on burial duty at Fort Lewis for the western region of the United States.
After his second military tour, he took advantage of the GI Bill and studied mechanical engineering and later held a position as head engineer with a chemical engineering firm. He later owned and operated a construction company designing and building custom homes.
Captain John Woodburn enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1968, serving initial assignments with Helicopter Combat Support Squadrons in San Diego, Calif. He made several western deployments on the USS Oklahoma City and was awarded a Navy Achievement medal and Navy Unit Meritorious Service Award during this time. He promoted quickly through enlisted and Warren Officer ranks, receiving a line officer commission as a lieutenant junior grade in 1977.
After two peacetime Mediterranean deployments on the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, Woodburn was reassigned to the Pentagon.
In 1989, he was promoted to lieutenant commander and assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga. He deployed to the Indian Ocean and Red Sea, supporting Operation Desert Shield, combat operations in Desert Storm and promoted to full commander. After the Gulf War, he served in NAS Whidbey Island, Washington and Crystal City, Virginia.
Upon graduation from Defense Systems Management College at Fort Belvoir, Woodburn was promoted to captain and relocated to Maryland where he was assigned to Chief of Naval Operations Staff as deputy director of the Fleet Readiness Division. He established the first Aviation Readiness Branch within the Fleet Readiness Division.
He retired from the Navy in August 2001 and was awarded the Navy Legion of Merit for service on chief of operations staff and his 34 years of naval service.
Chief Randal Hager enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in June 1974 and following basic training at Lackland AFB in Texas, he was selected for Avionics Sensor Systems Technical Training School at Lowry AFB in Colorado. His first duty assignment was as a Side Looking Radar team member for the SR-71 aircraft.
Additional assignments have included Kadena AB in Japan supporting F-4D aircraft, Davis Monthan AFB, Arizona with A10 aircraft, Royal Air Force Bentwaters, United Kingdom, Seymour Johnson AFB, Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, supporting F-4E aircraft, RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom, Hurlburt Field, Florida, where he led deployed maintenance efforts during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Spangdahelem Air Base, Germany, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, where he served as Avionics Flight Chief until his retirement.
Hager is a distinguished graduate of both the Noncommissioned Officers Leadership School and the United States Air Force in Europe Noncommissioned Officer Academy. He is also a 1995 graduate of the USAF Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy.
Following retirement from the Air Force, he became employed with Daimler Trucks North American working as a final cab line assembler.
Major Mary Alice Lesica-Woodburn enlisted in the Army Reserve in October 1976 as a dental assistant for the 339th General Hospital in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. She applied for the Army Officer Candidate Program and upon graduation in July 1979, her father, Colonel John P. Lesica commissioned her a second lieutenant. Initial officer assignments were in personnel actions dealing with officer evaluations peporting at the 99th Army Reserve Command in Oakland, Pennsylvania.
With a promotion to first lieutenant, she moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with the 254th Supply Company as platoon leader of heavy equipment.
Upon promotion to captain in 1986, Lesica-Woodburn transferred to the 378th Service and Support battalion at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania. From 1987-1989, she served as the 55th Material Management Command Headquarters Company commander, responsible for leadership of more than 400 personnel.
Moving to Jacksonville, Florida, she joined the 345th Combat Support Hospital as a Health Services Supply Officer. Here she prepared and assisted with the units’ upcoming mobilization to Desert Storm in January 1991. She was assigned to the 319th Military Intelligence Battalion at Fort Lewis, deploying to Camp Zama, Japan during annual training.
Returning to Virginia in 1993, she was promoted to major and eventually assigned to the inspector general office in 1996. Upon retirement in 1998 Lesica-Woodburn received the Army Meritorious Service Medal for her service on the IG staff 22 years of Army Reserve duty.
John Garrett Carnes served in the U.S. Marines from June 1989 to April 1997, as a MOS 3521 (automotive maintenance technician) and a diesel mechanic. He was stationed in Camp Lejeune; Kuwait (Desert Shield and Desert Storm); Okinawa, Japan and New River Air Station.
Carnes said that his family has fought in every battle that America has fought since its birth from the Revolutionary War to the present day. His father served in the U.S. Navy from 1960-1969 and is a Vietnam veteran. His oldest son of four boys is a U.S. Marine, infantryman in Afghanistan, a wounded warrior and was awarded a Purple Heart. His fourth son just entered the U.S. Marines as an infantryman.
Eric Killeen served in the U.S. Marines from Nov. 26, 2001 to Feb. 16, 2006, serving two tours in Iraq where he was in the Battles of Nasiriyah 2003, Iskandaria 2004 and Election Day in Iraq 2005. Killeen was an infantry Marine who graduated top of the class in team leaders course and squad leaders course, and he was also received a commendation for catching a trigger man.
Killeen served in the 2003 initial invasion of Iraq by U.S. and allied forces. During the Battle of Nasiriyah, he was promoted to first team leader after both his squad leader and team leaders were captured and killed.
He says that finding poetry saved his life. He wrote a song with the CreatiVets in Knoxville, Tennessee, a group dedicated to helping combat veterans with opportunities to use art, music, and creative writing for healing. His song can be heard by downloading the Soundcloud app, search CreatiVets, then search “Nasiriyah.”
Bormann concluded the ceremony as she thanked the veterans, “on behalf of the Quilts of Valor Foundation and a very grateful nation, with our deepest appreciation, we thank you for your service, your sacrifice and your valor to our country.”
She likewise thanked the quilt members for their work in making the event happen.