Veterans receive Quilts of Valor at Veterans Memorial Building

NEBRASKA CITY – A sneak peak at renovations to the Veterans Memorial Building in Nebraska City was offered over Memorial Day weekend, where quilts of valor were presented to veterans.

Blue Star Mothers Chapter 1 of Nebraska City has awarded over 100 quilts to area military service men and women and national chapters will award 13 quilts over the Memorial Day weekend. The Blue Star Mothers of America has 200 chapters and has awarded over 212,000 quilts.

 Behrends, Allen, Driever, Spevak

Veterans awarded Sunday were Elisha Allen, Allan Behrends, Matthew Driever and Robert Spevak.

Driever was in the U.S. Marine Corps during Desert Storm, serving in Kuwait for over three months, on and off the carrier USS Saipan. The Nebraska City High School graduate and Union resident said it is an honor to receive the quilt of valor.

Driever: “It kind of brings everything together because I know back in, say the Vietnam era, guys weren’t welcome home very fondly at all, so it feels good. I will probably put it in a shadow box along with that and some of the medals and ribbons.”

Blue Star Mother Tammy Chase explained the significance of the quilts.

Blue Star: “Our founder Catherine Roberts describes a Quilt of Valor as the civilian equivalent of a Purple Heart award.  Our quilts are awarded, not just handed out like a magazine or a video.  This Quilt of Valor unequivocally says Thank you for your service, sacrifice, and valor in serving our nation.”

The Veterans Memorial Building hosted live music including Bunky Christiansen and displayed military memorabilia.

Saturday Quilts of Valor were presented to Dean Brinkman, Jerry Schmitz, Ronald Shubert and Arlin Stutheit.

 Here is the Saturday program as given by Tammy Chase.


                The first veteran we are honoring at this time is: Elisha Aaron Allen.  Would you come forward, please?  Elisha, you will be ‘Al’ today.

                Al Allen enlisted in the United States Air Force on February 1, 1961; he spent twenty years serving his country.  As Al prepared his information form for us, the list of his assignments goes on and on; almost no place on this globe he hasn’t been.  Al received basic training at Lackland AFB, Texas.  He was assigned to multiple units including Strategic Air Command, Tactical Air Command, and Air Defense Command.  Not only did he serve at multiple Air Forces bases in the United States, but multiple deployments to foreign countries, including the Philippines, Viet Nam, England, Thailand, and Kadana.

                During his military service, Al was awarded an Air force Commendation Medal with one bronze Oak Leaf cluster; AF Good Conduct Medal with one Silver Oak Leaf cluster; Small Arms Expert Marksmanship ribbon; Non-commissioned officer professional military education ribbon; AF longevity service award ribbon with 4 bronze Oak Leaf clusters; National Defense service medal; Vietnam service medal; AF outstanding unit award and a Republic of Vietnam campaign medal.

                Al graduated from Delhi, Louisiana; he and his wife, Marilyn Masker Allen currently reside in Syracuse, NE.


                Our second veteran at this time is Allan Mark Behrends.  Allan, would you come up front please?

                Allan Behrends enlisted in the United States Air Force on August 16, 1956.  He was sent for basic training to Parks Air Force Base in Dublin, California.  He received additional training at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  He was assigned to serve with the 4756 Transportation Squadron.

                After the end of World War II, it was in the Peace Treaty between the United States and Germany that U.S. forces would occupy and train the Germans as they were building an Army.  Allan’s service to his country, and to the people of Germany, spanned six years, five months, and 22 days.

                Allan was awarded a Good Conduct Medal, and an Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon.

                Allan is a native of Nebraska City; he received his early education in a one-room school in Otoe County, District 30.  Allan currently resides in Nebr. City.

The third veteran we are honoring at this time is Matthew James Driever.

Matt enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on September 7, 1989.  He served four years in the Marines, achieving the rank of Corporal E-4.  Matt was sent for basic training in San Diego, California, and for additional training at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina.  He was assigned to serve with the LSB Landing Support Battalion.

Matt was deployed to Okinawa, he served during the Freedom Banner/Desert Storm/Desert Shield campaign.  Awards Matt received during his military service included a MUC, NUC, Good Conduct Medal, SWA, and Artic Service award.

Matt lists his hometown as Nebraska City; he graduated from Nebraska City High School.  He and his wife, Tina, currently reside in Union, NE.

The fourth veteran we are honoring today is Robert Spevak. 

                Robert Spevak enlisted in the United States Army in August of 1966; he was sent for basic training to Fort Polk, Louisiana.  He was assigned to the 556th Transportation Company. 

                Robert was deployed to Vietnam with the 410th Transportation unit during 1967 and 1968; then sent to serve with the 579th Ordinance Company in Germany  in 1968 where he stayed through 1969.  Robert was awarded a Marksman and Vietnam Service Medals.

                Robert’s hometown is Nebraska City; he graduated from Nebr. City High School in 1966.  He and his wife, Sandra, currently reside in Dunbar, NE.

Ladies and family members, you may now wrap your veterans!

                Gentlemen, we honor you for your service.  We honor you for leaving your home and loved ones and all you held dear to stand in harm’s way in a time of crisis, protecting us from the effects of war.

                We know that Freedom is not free!  We have freedom because of you and the dedication of men and women like you.  This quilt is meant to say Thank you for your sacrifice.  This quilt is meant to comfort you.  It is a quilt from your family, friends and a grateful nation.  It is to remind you that we care about you.  We want to say to you Welcome Home!

                Our founder Catherine Roberts describes a Quilt of Valor as the civilian equivalent of a Purple Heart award.  Our quilts are awarded, not just handed out like a magazine or a video.  This Quilt of Valor unequivocally says Thank you for your service, sacrifice, and valor in serving our nation.  This is not a charity quilt; it is not a blanket. 

                If you are a quilter, you know a quilt consists of three layers held together by its quilting stitches.  We like to think of the layers in this way:

                The top of the quilt with its many colors, shapes and fabrics, represents the communities and the many individuals we are.

                The batting, or filler, is the center of the quilt, its warmth.  It represents our hope that this quilt will bring warmth, comfort, peace, and healing to the individual who receives it.

                The backing is the strength that supports the other layers.  It represents the strength of the recipient, the support of his or her family, our communities, and our nation.

                Each stitch that holds the layers together represents love, gratitude, and sometimes the tears of the maker.

                On each quilt is a Quilt of Valor label that will tell you a little about this quilt.  As of today, the story of this quilt becomes your story. 

Veterans, we hope you keep this quilt with you as a reminder that there are thousands of women and men across this land who are forever in your debt, and that it is our pleasure to honor YOU with a Quilt of Valor.  

                Thank you.