Veterans honored at Quilts of Valor Presentation in Los Banos

mgaytan@losbanosenterprise.comSeptember 12, 2013 

— Lori Marques shed tears last Saturday when she received a handmade quilt in honor of her father.

Alvin Marques, who died in July, served in the U.S. Army and was honored along with eight local veterans by the Arts Council quilters group during the Quilts of Valor Presentation held at the Ted Falasco Arts Center.

“It’s very appreciated,” Lori Marques said, “to be able to honor him and his life.”

Alvin Marques was a long-time Los Banos resident who was nominated to receive a quilt. She was there to honor his work in the military.

The idea to recognize local veterans who have served in combat zones came earlier this year. And after a successful event last weekend, the quilters group said this is something they plan on doing every year.

“People loved it,” said Darla Fagundes, organizer and group member. “And they are glad we’re doing it next year.”

The plan is to keep the nominations going within the community.

“We have so many men and women who have served,” she said. “And a lot of people donated some money to help us.”

Veterans were nominated by friends or family members through an application process, and Fagundes said the veterans and their family members became emotional when they found out about the recognition.

“They were so happy that we remembered them,” Fagundes said. “We need to remember all of them.”

Fundraising measures are already taking place for next year’s Quilt of Valor Presentation, and four quilts have been donated by community members from the town of Hollister, Fagundes said.

“Everyone has been so nice. We appreciate it,” she added.

In 2014, the group would like to honor 10 veterans.

“I think next year might be bigger because more people are getting involved in some way, whether they donate money, sew a square or give us fabric,” Fagundes said.

David Becker of Los Banos, who served as a Marine and helicopter crew chief for four years, said the honor and the quilt meant a lot to him. Former U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Michael Creighton of Los Banos also was appreciative.

“It’s an honor,” Creighton said.

In addition to the Quilts of Valor Presentation, the Pumpkin Patch of Quilts also took place and Co-chairwoman Judy West said she was really pleased with the turnout for the two-day event, which brought in hundreds of people.

“We had more attendance than we did other years,” she said. “It’s the best one so far.”

Reporter Marina Gaytan can be reached at (209) 826-3831, ext. 6562, or mgaytan@losbanosenterprise.com.

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