Milton men awarded Quilts of Valor

Quilter Renee Smith of Sunbury, offered a quilt and a hug to Tom Aiello, an Air Force veteran from Milton.

HUMMELS WHARF — Two military veterans from Milton were awarded Quilts of Valor Monday night.

Tom Aiello and Jim Reimensnyder were presented quilts crafted by Renee Smith of Sunbury and Sue Heim of Catawissa.

Aiello, an Air Force veteran, joined the service in 1966 and became a radio intercept analyst. His service included stateside assignment in or around the Lackland Air Force Base as well as Da Nang, Vietnam where he tracked enemy radar operations and jammed them.

The following year, Aiello monitored Chinese radio transmissions from Taiwan. He left active duty in 1970, but in 1979 joined a naval construction battalion (Seabees) in Scranton where he did neighborhood community service. He served in other capacities through 1983 and accumulated many commendations along the way.

Reimensnyder, a veteran of the Army National Guard, served stateside as military police. His unit was called in 1972 during flooding from the Agnes storm. Among his duties were moving people’s freezers full of food from homes and take them to a place where there was less flooding and more electric power. The unit was also called during a national trucker’s strike in 1974.

As his units were reorganized, Reimensnyder found himself serving in 1975 flooding, the second Johnstown flood in 1977, tornado damage in the Williamsport area in 1985 and in other assignments.

“He’s just like I am,” Reimensnyder said of Aiello. “We just did what we had to do. It is our country and we stood up for it. Some served overseas and  some served in the United States, but we all played a part.”

Jim Fiedler, Columbia County Quilts of Valor representative, noted that all veterans have a few things in common. Each job was essential, Fiedler said, and each veteran left home, swore an oath to defend the Constitution and went where the military told them to go. Bonnie Fiedler, also of Columbia County, added that the three layers of a quilt were not only functional but also symbolic of inspiration, warmth and support.

Barry Mabus, Disabled American Veterans William Kerstetter Chapter 24 also used the occasion to donate a $250 check to the Quilts of Valor Foundation so they may continue their work.

Staff Writer Matt Farrand can be reached at 570-742-9671 and via email at

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