Marine and Army Veterans given Quilts of Valor

Published 10:20 am Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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WEST POINT — Four veterans of U.S. military service were honored at a Quilts of Valor ceremony held during the noon hour Saturday at in downtown West Point. They include former Marine Matt Eastman and Army veterans Rick Mamoran, Dori Pelley and Wayne Wommack Jr.

A native of Taunton, Mass., Eastman served in the Marines from 2003 until earlier this year. He served two tours of duty in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. He and his wife live in Columbus where they are raising a one-year-old daughter, Coda.

Mamoran served in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. He received seven wounds in an incident in Anbar Province in 2007 and remains disabled from it. He was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.

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Prior to his service in Iraq, Mamoran was stationed at Ray Barracks in Friedberg, Germany. He also spent time at Fort Lewis in Washington state.

Pelley was in the Army from 1990 until 2015. She was overseas for 17 years in countries such as Germany, The Netherlands, Italy and Nicaragua. She began her career in Air Defense and ended in Human Relations. She’s originally from the Valley and is a 1990 graduate of Lanett High School. She now lives in the Smiths Station area.

Wommack is a native of Tennille, Georgia and today lives in Opelika. He was in the Army from 1970 until 1983 and in Vietnam from 1970-74. At various stages of his career, he was a company clerk, medic and a green beret. He was stationed at Fort Benning and Fort Riley, Kansas and overseas in Vietnam and Germany.

In addition to a Quilt of Valor, Wommack also received a lapel pin honoring him for his service during the Vietnam War era. Anyone who served in the military from November 1, 1955, until May 15, 1975, is eligible to receive this award. Vietnam veterans can locate upcoming commemorative events by visiting

Saturday’s program was hosted by members of the Georgia-Alabama State Line Chapter of the Quilts of Valor. Debra Alexander was the moderator and quilters Carol Cofield, Shirley Welch and Ann Combs presented the quilts.

“We want to thank Mayor Steve Tramell for allowing us to use this building,” Alexander said. “Our quilting group meets here on the second Saturday of each month. We cut, sew and put together quilts that day. Anyone with sewing skills is welcome to come and help us.”

Alexander read a narrative about the National Quilts of Valor organization. It was founded by Catherine Roberts in 2003.

At the time her son was serving in the Army during the U.S. invasion of Iraq. She constantly worried for his safety and one night had a dream of a sleepless American soldier seated on the side of his bed and haunted by the war.

As the dream progressed, the soldier wrapped himself in a quilt he’d gotten from home and found comfort in it. The dream inspired her to start a quilting group with the purpose of making quilts for U.S. veterans serving in war zones and for veterans who had done so.

Their first quilt was awarded to a soldier recovering from wounds at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. It took Roberts and her group two years to make 100 quilts, but as word spread about what they were doing Quilts of Valor chapters sprang up nationwide. The 100,000th quilt was awarded in 2014 and the number has since grown to more than 350,000.

“Each quilt presentation carries with it a three-part message,” Alexander said. “First, we are honoring you for your service and your willingness to leave all you hold dear and stand in harm’s way in a time of crisis for all of us. Second, we know that freedom is never free. Our quilts are meant to say thank you for your many sacrifices. For those of us who have never seen combat or been in a war zone, such experiences are beyond our capacity to comprehend. Finally, these quilts offer you comfort. Throughout history, when young men left home to fight in a war, many of them took a quilt made by a family member that they called a comfort quilt. It may have been all these young men who had to remind them of the warmth memories of home can bring. We want you to use this quilt. It is not meant to be hung on the wall or put in a display case.”

The local chapter has a special effort to honor those who served in Vietnam.

Awards such as a Quilt of Valor or Vietnam Service lapel pin go towards that effort.