Veterans honored with community quilts

Published 1:00 am Tuesday, December 4, 2018

WEST POINT — Three brothers who grew up in the River View community and served their country in the military following high school graduation were among five veterans honored at a Quilts of Valor ceremony at SewingMachine.Com in downtown West Point. Witnessing the ceremony were their mother and step father, Mary and James Moore. The three brothers are Donnie Smith, Dale Smith and David Smith.

Donnie Smith was in the U.S. Air Force from 1997 to 2008. He was in special operations and was in pretty much every major conflict of the era except Kosovo. He was in Operation Desert Storm in the early 1990s and in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom in the early 2000s.

Dale Smith was a Cold War vet, serving from 1980-88. He did NATO-related service in Italy, The Netherlands and Germany. He also was in the North Dakota missile field.

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David Smith served in the U.S. Navy from 1982-92 and saw duty up and down the east coast, in the Mediterranean Sea and in the Persian Gulf.

The brothers’ mom, Mary Moore, is a military mother all the way. Including sons-in-law, seven members of her immediate family have served in the military. Her first husband died in 1980. She later married James Moore and still lives in River View. The Moore’s live behind the convenience store at McGinty’s Crossing and are well known for the way they have decorated their yard during the Christmas season.

The Smiths say that they are proud to have answered the call of duty and add that they’d go back in a heartbeat if called upon.

“I got to see the whole world in the Navy,” David said.

Two other men honored on Saturday, Hugh B. Reine of Bowdon, Ga. and John Garrett of Columbus, Ga. are proud of their service as well. Reine served in the U.S. Navy from 1962-66 and was in Vietnam in 1964-65. Garrett was in the U.S. Army from 1966-85. He was in Vietnam in the first two years of his military service. “I grew up in the swamps of South Carolina,” he said. “I joined the Army right out of high school. It gave me an education and led to a good life.”

Quilts of Valor is a national foundation comprised of people who make quilts to cover service members and veterans who have been touched by war in order to provide comfort, honor and gratitude for their sacrifices and service. It was founded in 2003 by Catherine Roberts when her son was deployed to Iraq. It took her and her small sewing group three years to award the first 100 quilts. Since that time many more quilters have joined them. At the latest count, a total of 204,509 quilts have been awarded to veterans and active duty personnel.

“That’s an impressive number,” said Sheila Simpson of the Georgia-Alabama State Line Chapter of Quilts of Valor. “But there are so many more we need to honor.”