United Way of Broward County’s MISSION UNITED, in partnership with the South Florida Coalition of Quilts of Valor Quilters, comprised of members of Gold Coast Quilters Guild and Quilt Guild by the Sea, honored 44 veterans who have been touched by war at the Welcome Home Ceremony and Quilts of Valor Presentation on March 21 at the Pompano Beach Cultural Center.
The 44 military veterans were presented with a locally-made quilt. These veterans have all had at least one deployment to a wartime theater or combat zone and represented multiple eras including WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Kosovo, Bosnia, Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Prior to the ceremony, the Honor Guard from Pompano Beach High School’s JROTC, led by Lieutenant Colonel Gregory Johnson, presented the colors. The national anthem was performed by Pete DeJesse, military father, U.S. Air Force, and the Invocation was led by Ben Sorensen, Vice Mayor of Fort Lauderdale and Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy. WWII Veteran Sid Rosenblatt, a United Way of Broward County MISSION UNITED volunteer, who received a Quilt of Valor at the 2017 inaugural program, spoke to the veterans and local community members in attendance on what it meant to him to receive a Quilt of Valor. Since receiving his quilt in 2017, Sid has presented Quilts of Valor to two of his children who are also combat veterans – one who served in Vietnam and a second who served as a Green Beret in the current Gulf War and recently retired from military service.
During the ceremony, the veterans were called up by name and escorted to the stage by members of the Patriot Guard Riders. Each quilter then graciously presented the veteran with their quilt by wrapping it around them.