Quilts of Valor honors veterans

photo of Ervin Jose

Military service is a badge of honor for so many Americans. It is a commitment and a sacrifice that so many have made throughout the years since our country was founded. Whether they served in a military conflict or outside of those wars, their value is
recognized in so many ways by those of us that rely on their service for our freedom. Missouri River Quilts of Valor is one organization that ensures our treasured veterans feel appreciated.

A longtime member of Capital Electric Cooperative (CEC), Ervin Jose served his country during World War II. A petty officer 2nd class in the U.S. Navy, he worked as a radar operator in the South Pacific. In 1945, he married Florence Benz on Knob Hill in San Francisco when he was stationed on Treasure Island. After his honorable discharge from the Navy in Oct. 1945, they returned to North Dakota, living in Bismarck where he worked security at Union Ford until moving to their farm north of Regan in April 1948. They raised six children together and held their family close through a lot of years.

To recognize veterans like Ervin, the Missouri River Quilts of Valor chapter presents them with a homemade quilt that represents the patriotism they embody. Their mission is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with a comforting and healing quilt. It is their way of saying thank you for your service, sacrifice and valor.

Ervin passed away at age 102 in August 2020. His daughter and CEC member, LeAna Hug, fondly remembers the quilt presentation ceremony that was held earlier this year. “Dad was very touched by receiving the quilt. It meant so much to him that his service was being recognized,” she remembers.

Group Leader Arlene Meissel applied for an Operation Round Up grant on behalf of the Missouri River chapter in August 2020. The five-person board of the CEC Charitable Trust awarded Quilts of Valor $900 to be used for quilting supplies. This amount is enough to cover the cost of three quilts. The five Operation Round Up directors were very pleased to fund such a worthwhile and meaningful program.

In her application, Meissel noted the group awards quilts based on nominations received and the local chapter’s inventory. They give priority to the elderly and those with health issues. “Our priority when receiving funds is purchasing fabric to construct quilts. However, we are in continuous need of many other supplies,” she wrote.

A former CEC employee, Judy Ruzicka, is among those who have made quilts for Quilts of Valor. “It’s such a great program, people are genuinely touched by the gesture. I’m happy to be part of it,” she says. Mary Dunn, wife of former CEC employee Rich Dunn, is also involved with the program.

Operation Round Up is a program in which electric cooperative members voluntarily round up their monthly utility bills to the nearest dollar and donate their change to local individuals, groups or charities with a specific need. The money pools and accumulates, and an elected board of co-op members reviews the grant applications that have been submitted and determines where the money will best make a difference.

For information on the local and national Quilts of Valor organizations, visit missouririverqov.weebly.com or www.qovf.org, or find “Missouri River Quilts of Valor” on Facebook. You may also contact Group Leader Arlene Meissel for information at 701-471-6147 or by email, missouririverqov@yahoo.com.


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