Local veterans honored with Quilts of Valor during Kissimmee ceremony

Vietnam, World War II veterans say this was the first time they’ve been recognized for service

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Three local veterans were honored Friday for their sacrifice during a unique ceremony. The Central Florida chapter of Quilts of Valor held a ceremony at the Museum of Military History in Kissimmee.

Richard Green is a Vietnam veteran who served in the Army as a headquarters specialist. When asked him about the award quilt, Green got emotional, saying he didn’t deserve this honor.

“There’s a lot of people that did a lot over there that didn’t make it back to wear one of these [quilts] and wear this hat. I feel bad for that," said Green.

Members of the Quilts of Valor organization believe all veterans deserve to be honored for their sacrifice to our country. The organization creates and awards quilts to veterans across the country.

[RELATED: Group sews Quilts of Valor to honor Central Florida veterans]

Bernie DeVore, 97, served in the Air Force during World War II as a flight engineer. DeVore remembers the 30 flights he was on during the war.

“I remember I was scared to death," said DeVore.

DeVore says he and other veterans from World War II and Vietnam were not welcomed back with open arms, and this ceremony is finally giving him the recognition he deserves.

“I didn’t get any honor and it made me angry. Same with every body else, because they felt that someone should recognize what you did. What these people are doing, are doing just that, and it makes you feel good that someone I don’t know is recognizing me for something I’ve done," said DeVoe.

As a Quilt of Valor was draped around the shoulders of Vietnam Veteran Pedro Lopez, he couldn’t help but remember the past.

“It was very traumatic, but I’m alive... In combat, I was wounded from shrapnel from a grenade. I still have it in my right lung because they couldn’t get it out," said Lopez.

Lopez says this is the first time he’s been honored for serving in the Vietnam War and his quilt means everything to him.

“It means vindication, it means that I’m being given some valor, it means that the sacrifice I made is being valued and I’m very thankful for it," said Lopez.

Publicly honored or not, those veterans say they are proud to have served our country and appreciate the work of the Quilts of Valor.

To nominate a veteran for the Quilts of Valor award, visit qovf.org.

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