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Area veterans honored with quilt ceremony at St. Joseph's Anglican Church

 

On Sunday, April 21, St. Joseph Anglican Church of Branson hosted a Quilts of Honor presentation honoring nine area veterans. The presentation ceremony, held at the conclusion of a shortened morning worship service, also included a reception immediately following. A Missing Man/Fallen Soldiers table was also set up in remembrance of those who did not come home.




 

Kathy Dice (Lt. Col., USAF, Ret.) helped coordinate the ceremony and served as emcee. A blessing of the quilts was given by Father Anthony of St. Joseph’s, and Betty Thomas of Quilts of Honor gave a brief description of the group and their activities. Jim Dice (Lt. Col., USAF, Ret.) then introduced each of the honorees in turn as Quilts of Honor volunteers presented the quilts of gratitude:

 

Staff Sergeant Jerry Heiniger served in the Army from 1945 to 1953.  He served two years as a Drill Sergeant in the National Guard at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, before entering active duty in 1947, for Paratrooper training at Fort Cambell, Kentucky. He was then assigned to Munich, Germany, until his discharge in 1953, accomplishing 32 jumps during his tenure as a paratrooper. 

 

Sergeant Jon Gano served in the Army from 1966 to 1969.  As a musician playing saxophone, woodwinds and keyboard, he was a member of the 5th Army Band in Indianapolis, IN. for two years, playing as troops marched in review for the visiting senior officers, as well as for the local community.  In 1968 Sergeant Gano was assigned to the 1st Air Cavalry Band at Camp Evans, South Vietnam, just 19 miles from the DMZ where he flew several times daily in Chinook helicopters to entertain troops at various landing zones, as well as flying out to the USS Sanctuary hospital ship to provide entertainment to the troops. Sergeant Gano was later assigned to the Headquarter Company as Supply Sargeant. 

 

Airman First Class John Kustron served in the Air Force from 1963 to 1967.  As a security force member with the 862nd Combat Defense Squadron at Minot AFB, North Dakota, A1C Kustron’s primary duty was the security of the Minuteman Missile fleet, preserving our nuclear deterrent against the Soviet Union. 

 

Petty Officer 3rd Class Don Holland served in the Navy from 1963 to 1967.  Serving three tours in Vietnam as a Signalman, Petty Officer Holland specialized in transmitting, receiving, encoding, decoding and distributing messages obtained via the visual transmission systems of flag semaphore, visual Morse code and flaghoist signalling. 

 

Specialist Four Gerry Gerhart served on active duty in the Army from 1955 to 1957, as Senior Company Clerk, Company H 3rd Battalion, 4th Training Regiment, at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He housed 120 men during their training for operation and maintenance of heavy equipment, with new students arriving every two weeks.  Upon discharge from active duty, he continued serving from 1957 to 1963 in the Army Reserve in St. Louis, Missouri. 

 

Staff Sergeant Alex Pate served in the Air Force from 2015 to 2019.  Following training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri as a Transportation Specialist, he was assigned to the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, where he provided bus transportation to base personnel and visitors, including authorized visitors from Russia.  SSG Pate enjoys traveling and in 2019, participated in the DOD Wounded Warrior Games in Tampa, Florida, taking part in the track, archery and wheelchair volleyball events.

 

Lance Corporal Tom Bauer served in the Marine Corps during 1969 and 1970 as a Communications Specialist.  Following Boot Camp in San Diego, California, and Advanced Infantry Training at Camp Pendleton, California, he attended Radio School at San Diego Naval Base, and Gun Battery training at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.  His service included maneuvers to Puerto Rico on a Navy LTL ship and guard duty at the Charleston, South Carolina, Naval Base. 

 

Staff Sergeant Steven Vaughn entered in the Army in 1972 and retired in 1994 after 20 years of active-duty service.  SSG Vaughn served as a combat medic with additional training as a Physician Assistant flying Dustoff (Medivac) missions for eight-and-a half years, accumulating 2,400 hours of flight time.  A veteran of both Vietnam and Desert Storm, he served as a Special Forces medic with the First and Tenth Special Forces Groups. 

 

Specialist Four George Davis served in the Army from 1959 to 1962.  As a mechanic, he served 18 months in the U.S., and 18 months in Fontainebleau, France, with a NATO unit. 

 

Also honored although unable to attend the ceremony was Bill Groote, who served in the Army from 1966 to 1968.  After training in Powerplant Management, he was assigned to the 44th Field Artillery Battalion in South Korea, supporting the unit’s mission keeping missiles at the ready to defend Korea. 

 

The Globe staff join the congregation and community of St. Joseph’s and the Quilts of Honor volunteers in thanking these veterans for their service!

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