Local veterans of the Vietnam War gather with quilt-makers from the Valley Heritage Quilt Guild as both the guild and the VFW Post 6747 Auxiliary presented them with the patriotic quilts on Memorial Day, May 30. (Sean Roney)

KING CITY — Members of the King City VFW Post 6747 Auxiliary and the Valley Heritage Quilt Guild presented patriotic quilts to veterans on May 30 as part of a Memorial Day celebration at the post.

Decorative quilts with red, white and blue fabrics were presented to Richard Klyce, Danny Conatser, Abraham Hernandez, Gary Oetting, Alfred Wood, Albert Roman, Charles DeSchepper, Henry Pruitt, Ronald Gilbertson, Roger Elzey and Edward Shackelford.

The quilts were created through a collaboration between the post and guild, in a project that started about eight years ago.

“It started with some of our aged World War I veterans,” said Auxiliary President Dorothy Errea. “They were cold and most of them were in wheelchairs. It would be nice to cover their legs and their feet and help keep their feet warm while they’re sitting.”

Errea said the quilt-making started with World War I veterans as recipients, then as the years went on, the project moved on to World War II, then onward to the Korean War, with local veterans of each conflict receiving quilts.

“Now it’s the Vietnam War veterans’ turn to get quilts,” she said. “There are 20 more Vietnam vets we need to make quilts for, so that’s our next goal is to get the next block of 10.”

Errea noted it might be two more years to finish quilts for all the local Vietnam veterans, but that might be sped up if they can get another group delivered by Veterans Day.

The collaboration between two groups started a couple years back, explained Errea, as the post had declining numbers of quilters. Currently, the post has three active quilters and the guild sometimes has as many as 10 from their membership show up to the monthly quilt-making sessions.

“We get together as often was we can and put quilts together for all of the veterans,” Errea said.

The latest 11 quilts took almost four months to create, she added.

“The quilt guild is super fast because they’re very experienced,” Errea said.

Not only are patriotic colors used, but also military themes are created with the fabrics.

“If we know a particular service branch one of the veterans served in, we try to find fabric for that,” Errea said. She explained if a fabric can’t be found in time or if a branch isn’t known, the patriotic colors work, as well.

Errea said the intent with the quilts is to keep honoring veterans by creating them and presenting them. With Vietnam soon to be finished, she said it was up to the VFW Post 6747 leadership to come up with the next group to be honored by the auxiliary post.

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Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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