MURRAY — For the fourth year in a row, local artist Theresa Schroader has used her talents to honor Calloway County veterans through her genre of choice, quilting.
This year, five veterans, four from the United States Army and one from the Marine Corps, are included in her latest work that will be unveiled on its traditional date of Veterans Day. The quilt will be officially unveiled at 2 p.m. Monday in the large meeting room of the Miller Courthouse Annex in downtown Murray.
This now brings the number of veterans honored in this manner to 13. It was in 2015 that David Foley, former commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6291/Herman Eddie Roberts Jr. Post and a Vietnam War veteran with the Army, asked Schroader to honor veterans in this manner. They are people he has come to know over the years.
However, for Foley, it is also a mission of healing.
“I don’t do this for personal gain,” Foley said Friday, when answering a question about why this mission started. He was finally able to continue with his answer about four minutes later, after breaking down in tears. “I lost 21 friends (in Vietnam, where he served as an Army medic). I feel it every day.
“I think every day about the guys I lost and this helps me. Six of them haven’t been found yet (still missing in action in Vietnam). They are still over there, so many young lives.”
The healing is possible by talking about the ones on the quilts. This year’s group includes a wide array of people who served their country, all during times of war for the United States.
Two of them were in World War II, Robert Hendon and George Quincy Adams, both of whom also sustained major injuries during their service.
“Robert lost his arm but he came back here and taught school at Murray State,” Foley said. “Quincy lost most of his fingers when he threw a white phosphorous German grenade that had gotten into his fox hole (during the pivotal Battle of the Bulge). It left him with just his thumb and little finger and he lost his ears.
“But he was quite a character. He got his degree here at Murray State, but he got into cutting down trees and he would have a boy who would help him that would start the (chainsaw) and then Quincy would take it over.
“Ike Grogan served in the Korean War and he used to be a carpenter here. I remember that his daughter didn’t like me too much because I made her dissect a frog (during Foley’s 31 years as a science and math teacher at Calloway County High School).”
Marine Anthony Thomas served in Vietnam, though it was in different areas from Foley. Thomas received two Purple Hearts for injuries he sustained during combat. Army veteran Anthony Marasco served seven years as an automated logistical specialist. He began his Army stint during the Gulf War that began in 1990 and resulted in a multi-national force led by, among others, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf and Gen. Colin Powell, liberating Kuwait after being invaded by Iraq.
Monday’s ceremony originally was scheduled for the downstairs lobby of the Calloway County Courthouse, but Foley said it has been decided that the Courthouse Annex is more roomy and will allow for a more comfortable setting for those in attendance.
Family members are expected to attend and Foley said, if they choose, they will have the opportunity to speak. Post 6291 Commander David Wilson, Ronnie Brantley, a retired special forces soldier, and Post 6291 Service Officer Charles Fuller are all scheduled to speak.
The quilt ceremony also will precede the annual Veterans Day Parade in Murray that starts at 4.
“I’m hoping that, with our event ending so close to the parade, that people who come will decide to spend some time looking at everything going on with (the parade) too and stay to see it,” said Foley, who helped organize the first Veterans Day Parade in the city in 2004.