‘A lot of us were forgotten’: Local veterans honored by Quilts of Valor Foundation

Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 6:45 PM EDT
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Since 2003, the Quilts of Valor Foundation has been making quilts to honor veterans.

“They are awarded to our veterans for their services and sacrifices in defending our country," said Carolyn Elliott, the Kentucky coordinator for Quilts of Valor Foundation.

Friday, six veterans from Floyd and Pike Counties were honored by the Kentucky branch of the organization.

“It means a lot to me that someone finally recognized my service and everything like that," said Willard M. Smith a Vietnam veteran.

The mission of Quilts of Valor is to cover service members and veterans with comforting and healing quilts of valor.

“Those quilts became very comforting to them and they helped provide a sense of peace and healing and it’s made an amazing difference in many of their lives," said Elliott.

For Vietnam vet Johnny Strouth, he said when he came home from the war, his homecoming was not celebrated.

“We were called baby killers and stuff like that but we weren’t appreciated. I just kept everything in I never talked about it," said Strouth.

Strouth spent one year on the ground in Vietnam.

“I went through probably 6 pairs of boots doing all that walking and stuff through the swamps and terrain and stuff," he said. "A lot of people got killed, a lot of people got wounded and were just lucky, lucky I made it out of there.”

50 years later, he received recognition of his service through Quilts of Valor. Getting a quilt to help comfort him as he still struggles with PTSD.

“I have flashbacks of the Vietnam war and stuff all the time and it may help some that’s all I can say, you know," said Strouth.

The Quilts of Valor Foundation has more than 11,000 volunteers. They have awarded more than 250,000 quilts to veterans.

To receive a quilt, you must nominate a veteran. Elliot stressed these quilts are not given, they are earned.

For more information and to nominate a veteran, click here.

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