BY MELANIE BUCK –
A local veteran was honored for the service he provided to the United States through the Quilts of Valor program. After graduating from Mena High School in 1999, Jason Hogan served six years as active and two years inactive Mena’s Charlie Company of the Arkansas Army National Guard. Hogan also served overseas in Operation Enduring Freedom.
On Tuesday, April 11, Hogan was surprised when the Frank Fried American Legion Post #18 announced him as a recipient of the quilt. Hogan said, “This is very much an honor, I’m kind of shocked. It was really an honor to have my family here also.”
Quilts of Valor began in 2003 when two women had the idea of comforting veterans with quilts. More than 133,000 quilts have been awarded in the United States, each hand made. The makers of the quilts state, “This quilt brings you a three-part message from our hearts. First, we honor you for your service. We honor you for leaving all you held dear to stand in harm’s way in a time of crisis, protecting us from the effects of war. Next, our quilters know that freedom is not free. The cost of our freedom is the dedication of lives of men and women like you, and this quilt is meant to say ‘thank you’ for your sacrifice. And finally, this quilt is meant to offer comfort to you, and to remind you that although your family and friends cannot be with you at all times, you are forever in all of our thoughts and our hearts.”
Hogan’s quilt was presented by Bob Lancaster, Commander of Post #18, after Hogan’s wife spent several months organizing the surprise. “I thought I was just invited here to have dinner,” laughed Hogan. “We are very proud of him,” said his wife.
Each quilt is personalized and is provided by the Quilts of Valor Foundation. To learn more about the program or to make a donation, visit their website, www.QOVF.org. You can also contact the Arkansas State QOVF Coordinator, Sheila Gordon, at 501-354-5758 or by email at Sheila.gordon@QOVF.org.