Five area veterans were recently awarded Quilts of Valor in honor and recognition of their service to our country.
Paul Long, of Catawissa, served in the US Navy from 1965-1969. He was trained as a yeoman/clerk. He served on the destroyers USS Reeves and the USS Theodore Chandler off Vietnam where the ships supported the Army and Marines on shore. At battle stations, Long was on the bridge assisting in communications. He also served on the USS Dixie, a destroyer tender berthed at San Diego. He left the Navy as a yeoman 3rd class. His quilt was pieced by Pat Golla and quilted by Fran Chelius.
Ralph Page, of Bloomsburg, served in the US Air Force from 1968-1972. He served with the 2852nd Air Base Group at McClellan AFB in California doing inventory management. Page also served with the 2951st Combat Logistics Squadron. Their job was to expedite the shipment of replacement parts for crashed and battle damaged planes and helicopters. This required him to spend one to three months at a time in Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia. He left the Air Force as an airman 1st class. His quilt was pieced by Laura Tice and quilted by Debi Giordano.
Darryl Purnell Jr., of Danville, served in the US Army from 1984-1991. He served with the 3rd Armored Division as a tank turret and weapons system repairman. Eventually he became an instructor as well. He served at Gelnhausen, Germany, Fort Benning, Ga., and later back in Germany at Ayers Kaserne. Purnell also served with the 3rd Armored in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait as part of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He left the Army as a specialist 4th class. His quilt was pieced by Debbie Stempien and quilted by Jill Shaw.
Gary Boyer, of Mifflinville, served in the US Navy from 1970-1974. He served at Quonset Point, R.I., and Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily. Boyer was an aviation electrician working on the ground support systems for P-3 Orions and other planes that were used as submarine hunters in the Cold War. During the Arab-Israeli Wars at that time, he would be moved to Souda Bay, Crete. He left the Navy as an aviation support equipment technician (electrical). His quilt was pieced by Ruth DeWald and quilted by Fran Chelius.
Art Sassani, of Orangeville, served in the US Air Force from 1961-1965. He spent much of his time at Otis AFB, Mass. Sassani was an aircraft technician working on the electrical systems of KC-97 air refueling tankers whose job it was to keep our B-47 and B-52 bombers in the air. This included the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis when we almost went to war. He also served for a short time at Sondrestrom AB on Greenland in January working on KC-97s. His quilt was pieced and quilted by Debbie McHugh.
Awarding the quilts were Golla, McHugh, and Jim and Bonnie Fiedler, all members of the Columbia County Quilts of Valor.