4 Veterans Honored In Long Valley With Quilts Of Valor

Four local veterans were recently honored and awarded Quilts of Valor at a ceremony in Long Valley on Tuesday.

article by Vianella Burns, long valley Patch Staff

Posted Wed, Nov 15, 2023 at 3:00 pm ET

Pictured left to right – Mark Vandling, Frank Giaquinto, John Larkin, Ed Twomey (Courtesy of Paul W. Richartz, Public Affairs Officer, American Veterans Association of Washington Township)

LONG VALLEY, NJ — In celebration of Veterans Day, four local veterans were recently honored and awarded Quilts of Valor, which are hand-made quilts designed to honor and comfort veterans touched by war.

The recipients included:

  • John Larkin, Navy Petty Officer Second Class, 1962–1966, served in Vietnam.
  • Frank Giaquinto, Marine Sergeant Frank Giaquinto, 2008–2012, who served in Afghanistan and who currently serves as a police officer in Long Valley
  • Edward Twomey, Army Sergeant 1966–1968, who served in Vietnam
  • Mark Vandling, Navy Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class, who served in Vietnam

Linda Oppel arranged and directed the Quilts of Valor ceremony; her husband Larry, a Navy veteran who served in Vietnam, was a former recipient.

The quilts were presented by Charles “Chuck” Dauchert, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam and was also a previous quilt recipient, and Tim Kelly, the Post 1776 Chaplain.

The event was hosted by the Fairmount Fire Company in Long Valley.

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According to officials, the Quilts of Valor Foundation was founded in 2003 by Catherine Roberts, whose son was deployed to Iraq.

“In a dream, Catherine saw a young man sitting on the side of his bed in the middle of the night, hunched over. The permeating feeling was one of utter despair. She could see his war demons clustered around, dragging him down into an emotional void. Then, as if in a movie, she saw him wrapped in a quilt. His whole demeanor changed from one of despair to one of hope and well-being. The quilt had made this dramatic change,” the American Veterans Association of Washington Township said.

The message was simple: quilts equal healing. The Quilts of Valor Foundation has developed into a national organization that has provided approximately 350,000 quilts as of May 2023.

To learn more about the Quilts of Valor Foundation, click     https:www.govf.org/

The American Veterans Association of Washington Township (AVAWT) consists of military veterans who served during war and peace, with the purpose of keeping the contributions and history of veterans alive.

The organization meets at a variety of locations within Long Valley at 10 a.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. The location of the next meeting can be found on the AVAWT website:  http://www.avawt.org/.