On May 23, members of the Hudson Valley Modern Quilt Guild presented veteran Bruce Wilson of Montgomery American Legion Post 521 with a quilt for his dedication to the post. Bruce’s brother Robert accepted the quilt on his behalf, as Bruce is currently ill.
The quilt was made by members of the guild. The guild currently is composed of approximately 27 women from the Mid-Hudson Region who enjoy making charitable quilts. The members were inspired by Catherine Roberts to create a quilt of valor for a veteran. In 2003, Roberts assembled a volunteer team to sew a patriotic quilt for her son who was deployed in Iraq. This spawned the Quilts of Valor Foundation and over 3,000 quilts of valor have been made since 2003.
“The quilt we feel is a tangible sign of our love and our gratitude to give to someone who is so well-deserving,” said Barbara Schmoll, co-program chair of the quilt guild.
Schmoll noted there are three parts to the quilt’s message. They honor Bruce for his service, which is most important. Secondly, the guild recognizes that freedom is not free and many sacrifices were made over the years. Third, the quilt is a symbol of comfort and the guild wishes Bruce love and hope.
The guild asked Post 521 Commander Mark Merring to nominate a deserving member of the post as the recipient of the quilt.
“In my three years as commander, I’ve gotten to see who does what,” Merring said. “Bruce contributes to this post pretty much on a daily basis.”
Merring added that Bruce is a 25-year member of the post. As head of building and grounds, Bruce constantly helps maintain the American Legion’s headquarters, completing tasks such as testing a well in addition to repairing the driveway and furnace.
“I call Bruce and Bruce takes care of it,” Merring said. “It takes a lot of pressure off of me because there’s so many other things a commander has to do.”
Bruce served in the marine corps from 1959-1963. He was stationed in the Caribbean. Bruce is just one of many dedicated veterans in Post 521. Merring confirmed that The American Legion Department of New York awarded the post with 100 percent participation, a feat they had not accomplished since 1994. Merring noted that the veterans of the post are the greatest men he has served with.
“These guys are there when you need them,” he said. “We’re more than just comrades.”