(WAUSAU)-Marsha Otto presented a “Quilt of Valor” to Army Veteran Raymond L. Bender at the Wausau American Legion Post 10 meeting on February 16, 2021 at Bunkers Restaurant. Marsha is a Wisconsin volunteer who represents the “Quilts of Valor” foundation.  Marsha was assisted by her daughter Jamie Sterzinger and Bob Strack, Senior Sergeant at Arms, Post 10.

Raymond L. Bender

Ray, an Army Command Sergeant Major, served in Vietnam in 1968 in the 69th Armor Battalion. In 1990 he was deployed with the 213th S&S Battalion to Operation Storm, Desert Shield. Ray also held many positions in the Battalion at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin before retiring in 1998.

Lester Weko

Army veteran Lester Weko also was awarded a “Quilt of Valor”. Lester was unable to attend the ceremony but was later presented the “Quilt of Valor” by Mike Heilmann Post 10 Historian. Lester a T-4 Technical Sergeant served honorably during WWll from 1943 to 1949. He was stationed two years in Hawaii and was in the reserves for three years. Lester was certified as an aviation mechanic. He worked on aircrafts and later on jeeps, motorcycles and half to two and a half ton vehicles.

The “Quilts of Valor” Foundation is a non-profit group of quilters from across the United States of America. Their mission is to cover service members and Veterans touched by war with a “Quilt of Valor” in hopes of offering them comforting and healing. The “Quilt of Valor” says thank you for your service, sacrifice and valor in serving our nation. Let this be a reminder that “Freedom Is Not Free” The cost of our freedom is the dedication of service men and women like Ray and Lester. Thank you both for your service.

Story and photos courtesy of Mike Heilmann