4 veterans honored with Quilts of Valor

Published 6:29 pm Friday, August 18, 2023

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Four more quilts were presented to veterans during a Quilts of Valor ceremony Friday at Albert Lea American Legion Post 56.

Lynda Harig, a Quilt of Valor Foundation member; Ole Olson, commander of Albert Lea American Legion Post 56; and Tom Norby presented the quilts.

Raymond Hanson served from 1952 to ’55 in the Army. He was an M60 gunner in the Korean War. When he returned from overseas, he put troops through basic training and retired from the Army as sergeant. After being discharged he worked at the Clarks Grove Elevator.

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“Our foundation wishes to recognize you for your service to our nations,” Harig said.

Hanson was appreciative of the honor.

“I want to thank you,” Hanson said after receiving his quilt.

He was also amazed upon learning he’d receive one.

“I never dreamt I was gonna get one,” he said, adding he never thought about the possibility.

Next up was Myron Levison.

“We consider it a privilege to honor you,” Harig said. “This quilt was made for you out of admiration and respect for what you’ve done for your country.”

After receiving a quilt, he admitted that because of his five brothers, it wasn’t hard for him to make a decision to serve.

Andrew Tatarek served in the U.S. Army from 1951 to ’54. He was stationed in Korea as a radar operator. After serving, he attended Mankato State University before working various jobs, mainly at Evans Auto Sales in Albert Lea.

“We salute you and thank you for your service and sacrifice,” Harig said.

Following the ceremony, he said it was great and it felt nice to be appreciated.

Curtis Jensen was in the Navy from 1948 to ’55 and stationed in Korea, Japan and China, where he worked in engineering. After serving, he worked at the Minnesota Highway Department and then construction.

“Please accept this certificate as an expression of our gratitude,” Harig said while Olson and Norby presented Jensen a quilt.

Jensen said he accepted it in the honor of his family.

“My dad was in the Navy in the first World War, and I served … in the Navy,” he said. “I have two brothers that served in the Air Force … and my son just retired from the Army.

Quilts of Valor was established by Catherine Roberts in 2003 after her son was deployed in Iraq. Since then, over 343,000 Quilts of Valor have been awarded. The mission was to honor service members and veterans affected by war with quilts that said “thank you for your service, sacrifice and valor in serving our nation.”

Beth Birch, president of Albert Lea American Legion Post 56, opened the ceremony by introducing Hanson, Levison, Tatarek and Jensen.

Lester Shaunce, a previous recipient of a quilt, was there to pay respect to his friends.

“I’ve known [Hanson] for I don’t know,” he said. “He’s from Hollandale, I’m from Geneva, but my uncle farmed in Hollandale.”

He knew Levison through the American Legion. They also attended the same church.

He met Tatarek through Tatarek’s former employer as a car salesman at Evans Auto Sales, as well as Tatarek’s son being on the Albert Lea High School wrestling team.

“Very, very happy,” he said when learning Hanson, Levison and Tatarek were getting quilts.