OUS honors veterans with ‘Threads of Gratitude’

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 30, 2023

‘A Quilts of Valor Celebration’ set for Thursday

In a heartfelt tribute to veterans in the community, Ohio University Southern is set to host its annual veteran recognition event.

Dr. Teresa McKenzie, coordinator of Veterans Services at Ohio University Southern, shared the details of this year’s program, which is dedicated to recognizing and honoring local veterans.

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The event has been a longstanding tradition at Ohio University Southern, celebrating veterans and their contributions to the nation.

“Each year, OHIO Southern always does something to celebrate veterans,” McKenzie said. “Every year I’ve been here there’s been a program, or some event virtually during COVID.”

Traditionally, the university creates a military and veterans tribute wall in the Bowman lobby, where students, faculty, staff and the community at large can submit pictures of their veteran family members.

These photos serve as a poignant reminder of the military family associated with the university.

This year, the event theme is “Threads of Gratitude: A Quilts of Valor Celebration.”

Instead of the usual keynote speaker, a mini-documentary has been prepared by McKenzie and Electronic Media Production assistant Ernie Hall. This documentary follows Dr. Martha Evans, Dr. Mikki Crawford and Dr. Kim Keffer, who are members of a quilting guild known as Material Hugs.

This documentary will focus on Quilts of Valor, its history, and the heartfelt stories behind it.

The celebration will honor around 10 local veterans from various backgrounds, representing different wars and campaigns.

Each veteran will receive a quilt lovingly crafted by Material Hugs members.These quilts, according to McKenzie, are meant to “hug” the veterans and provide them with a tangible symbol of gratitude.

Each quilt will come with a statement listing the veteran’s name, the date it was donated and other meaningful details.

The process of selecting veterans for this honor is inclusive.

McKenzie explained, “Family members can ask to nominate them. Veterans can say, ‘I’d like a quilt.’ You can only get one quilt in a lifetime. Veterans who are deceased, their family members can’t ask for a quilt because it goes to living veterans.”

While the primary focus is on veterans from World War I, World War II, Vietnam and Korea, Material Hugs aims to recognize all veterans.

McKenzie mentioned that they limit this particular program to about ten veterans to keep it concise, followed by a reception where attendees can personally thank and acknowledge the veterans for their service.

For those who want to get involved by helping with the quilts or nominating a veteran, the process is straightforward.
“They want to reach out to the Quilts of Valor, there’s a website, and they can go onto the website and nominate their veteran and nominate themselves on the website,” McKenzie said.

The online nomination form can be found at https://www.qovf.org/nominations-awards/

The event will take place at the Ohio University Southern from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Thursday, with a reception to follow.

Importantly, the event is open to the public, not limited to Ohio University staff and students, welcoming anyone interested in celebrating these deserving veterans.