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Branson resident Jim McTaggert honored for his service

Friends and family of Jim McTaggert were present in Forsyth as he was honored for his service in the Armed Forces by Quilts of Valor of the Ozarks (QOVO) and Taneycomo Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) on June 17 at the White River Valley Historical Society Museum.



Kathy Dice of QOVO, presented the following bio: “Jim McTaggert joined the Army in March 1965 after one semester in college. After basic training and advanced Infantry training, he received orders for Vietnam in March of 1966.  His fiancée, Bobby Sue, was in nursing training in Rockford, IL, and they were planning a fall wedding. Realizing the Army had first dibs on him and he was going to war in two weeks, they decided that marriage goes nice with St. Patricks’ Day. So, on March 17, 1966, they were married and six days later Bobby Sue went back to nursing school and Jim headed for Vietnam.


Jim was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division, in the central highlands of Vietnam at Pleiku. This was very early in the war, and they fought the north Vietnamese army who were well trained, led and equipped. They were a formidable foe. On Memorial Day weekend of 1966 his unit of 150 men was involved in very heavy engagement with a sizeable enemy force. During this battle in the Ia Drang Valley, Jim was seriously wounded and his unit suffered significant causalities. Jim was medivacked out. After operations in Vietnam, Jim was taken to the Philippines for additional surgery and recovery. Four weeks later, Jim was brought home to Great Lakes Naval Hospital in Chicago for an additional three months. Upon recovery Jim finished his duties at Fort Lee, VA, and was discharged January 22, 1968.  He was awarded the Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge, Presidential Unit Citation, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and the normal awards. Upon discharge, Jim and Bobby Sue, now a registered nurse, set up house in Rockford, IL.


Bobby Sue worked while Jim attended Northern Illinois University, graduating in 1971. Their life journey took them from Illinois to Indiana to Ohio and then to Branson, where they have lived for 46 years. Jim’s company bought and sold machine tools for industry and he did that for some 40 years, retiring in 2016. In 2003 Jim and his wife founded and built St Joseph Anglican church in Branson.


They retired from the ministry early in 2024.


Jim now serves as the Veterans to Veterans coordinator at Cox Hospital Branson.

Jim and Bobby Sue have a daughter Sara who lives in Branson and owns a local hair salon, and son Josh, who is a retired Coast Guard Commander, has two boys and lives in New Orleans.


Jim was recognized by the DAR as the Missouri State Society DAR Patriot of the month and was awarded a certificate and a Vietnam lapel pin - provided by the DAR and the Vietnam Veteran Commemoration Committee. In 2012 our nation launched a 13-year-long commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War; this commemoration will continue through Veterans Day of 2025. Linda Randolph of the Taneycomo DAR assisted in the ceremony and presented a spouse pin to Bobby Sue and pin to their daughter along with flowers.   


Quilts of Valor of the Ozarks, co-leaders Betty Thomas and Debbie Gintz, honored Jim with a Quilt of Valor® and shared the history and the mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation.  This mission, “to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor” has been met by presentations to nearly 400,000 honorees since its inception in 2003. The Taneycomo DAR presented a generous donation of $300 to QOVO to support their ongoing work to honor veterans in the SW Missouri/NW Arkansas region.    


Father/Sgt. Jim was accompanied by his wife Bobby Sue, daughter Sara, and Bobby Sue’s sister Jane Dooley who helped care for him when he returned from Vietnam. Several other Vietnam veterans as well as members of Tanycomo DAR and QOVO were present for the presentations. 

 

Eligibility for quilts

Who is eligible to be awarded a quilt? Any service member or living veteran who served in one of the following branches: Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. Members of the activated National Guard and activated or active duty-special work (ADSW) reservists are included. Individuals may be nominated by completing a form at https://www.qovf.org/nominations-awards/nominate_qov_tbw_info/#faq or emailing the local chapter at quiltsofvalorozarks@gmail.com.

 

How you can be involved

Quilts of Valor Foundation is a 501(3)(c) organization and is entirely funded by the generosity of its members and benefactors. If you are interested in joining this work, or making a donation, you may contact the local QOVO Chapter through their Facebook page (Quilts of Valor of the Ozarks), email them at quiltsofvalorozarks@gmail.com or come to a meeting the first Monday of the month at 9 a.m. at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, Kimberling City, MO.  

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