Quilts of Valor awarded to 5 veterans in La Salle ceremony

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Terry Johnson (left) and Martha Patelli (right) speak to Quilts of Valor recipients Bill Hunt, Mick Hartley, Harold Olsen, Nick Brolley and Joe Arjes at the ceremony in La Salle. (Photo provided Fran Brolley)

The Starved Rock Country Community Foundation recently hosted a Quilts of Valor ceremony honoring five area military veterans.

Honorees were Joseph Arjes of Paw Paw (Army, 1996 to 2009), Nicholas Brolley of Washington and formerly of Ottawa (Army, 2005 to 2008); Larry “Mick” Hartley of Mendota (Army, 1969 to 1972); William Hunt of Oglesby (Navy, 1979 to 1986); and Harold Olsen of Arlington (Army, 1969 to 1970).

“On behalf of myself, Harold, Mick, Nick and Joe, I want to express our appreciation for today’s moving ceremony,” said Hunt, a Starved Rock Country Community Foundation board member. “It’s not lost on us that we are the lucky ones, as others have sacrificed so much more. I’m honored and proud to be associated with such a distinguished group of individuals.” The unique, hand-made quilts honoring the bravery and sacrifices of veterans were presented by Illinois Valley Quilts of Valor representatives Terry Johnson of Princeton and Martha Patelli of La Salle.

The local chapter has awarded more than 700 quilts since its founding April 1, 2017. A single quilt could take up to 100 hours to complete, and Johnson estimated that about 50 quilters have participated. “Each quilt is a tangible embodiment of gratitude, meticulously handcrafted by dedicated volunteers who generously donate their time, skills and resources,” Johnson said.

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