PARKERSBURG - Charles Shepherd, a World War II and Korea War veteran, has a new special way to ward off the cold this winter after he was presented with a Quilt of Valor on Monday.
Shepherd, 92, was 18 years old when he joined the U.S. Army and was sent to work as a tank commander with the 8th Regimental Combat Team in Italy during World War II.
"I wanted to see the world, and I did," said Shepherd, who received the quilt from the Quilts of Valor Foundation volunteer organization. "Looking at the world today, I don't think we will ever see another conflict like World War II again."
Photo by Jolene Craig
Quilter Faye Gandee of Gay, W.Va., hugs World War II and Korea War veteran Charles Shepherd, 92, after presenting him with a Quilt of Valor at his south Parkersburg home Monday morning.
The quilt was handmade by Faye Gandee of Gay, W.Va., who presented the gift along with Gale Betterly of Ridgefield, Ohio, who works with the Quilts of Valor organization in Ohio.
"You are a very special person and we believe people like you, who served our country so bravely, need to be honored," Betterly told Shepherd when presenting the gift.
In response, Shepherd said he didn't believe he deserved the quilt.
"I didn't think I was that important," he said.
Shepherd received the quilt after his daughter, Sharon Cole, nominated him with the national Quilts of Valor organization.
"He has a Purple Heart from a shell being fired at his tank in Italy," Cole said. "He still has shrapnel in his face and hands, and I thought this would put a smile on his face, make him happy."
Gandee said she became involved in the organization after requesting a quilt for her father.
"After I requested a quilt for my dad, I started to research the organization and decided to volunteer," Gandee said. "I think this is an awesome thing to do for our country's veterans."
Quilts of Valor Foundation was started in 2003 by Catherine Roberts of Seaford, Del., whose son Nathanael Roberts was serving a year-long deployment to Iraq. The mother wanted to ensure the returning soldiers were welcomed home with the love and gratitude they deserve.
In the 11 years since, the organization has given out more than 100,000 quilts to deserving veterans, according to Betterly.