StoryPoint Senior Living of Chesterton hosted a special, heartwarming veterans presentation by Lenny Corso on July 10, where veterans Joseph Piette, Bob Forney, and Arthur Thomason were awarded specially made Quilts of Valor.
During the presentation, Corso, a Vietnam War veteran, spoke about his own experience in the U.S. Army Special Forces as a Green Beret medical specialist from 1966-1969 and the importance of recognizing and honoring those who have made sacrifices for the U.S.
“Freedom isn’t free and we should never take it for granted,” Corso said.
Corso spoke about the challenges faced by veterans who fought in various wars, and the impact war has on each veteran’s life in many different ways.
“Now that some of us are in our 70s and even beyond, we still haven’t forgotten those days,” Corso said.
StoryPoint hosted this event to recognize veterans who have served our country. StoryPoint residents and community members gathered together to honor the veterans and celebrate the recipients of the Quilts of Valor. Piette, Forney, and Thomason had no idea they were receiving Quilts of Valor and were happily surprised.
Piette served in the U.S. army from 1945-1947 and received a Ruptured Duck, a World War II Victory Medal.
“A lot of memories were going through my mind. I feel honored,” Piette said.
The Quilt of Valor Foundation is a national organization of groups that make special quilts for veterans who have been affected by war. Members of the String-A-Long Stars & Stripes Quilt of Valor group in Northwest Indiana attended the veterans presentation to surprise the three veterans with their own special Quilts of Valor.
“These quilts bring a three-part message from our hearts,” said Flo Schneider, the group leader of the String-A-Long Stars & Stripes Quilt of Valor group. “First, we honor each veteran for their service to our country. We honor them for leaving all they hold dear to stand in harm’s way during a time of crisis, protecting us from the effects of war. Next, our quilters know that freedom is not free. The cost of our freedom is the dedication of lives of men and women like them, and this quilt is meant to say 'Thank you for your sacrifice.'"
Schneider continued, "And finally, the quilt is meant to offer comfort to them and remind them that although their family and friends cannot be with them at all times, they’re forever in all of our thoughts and our hearts.”
Forney served in the air force from 1951-1955 and fought in the Korean War.
“I was entirely surprised. I’m still in a state of shock…I do appreciate it. I really, really, really appreciate it,” Forney said.
Arthur Thomason, who served in the air force from 1958 to 1966, fought in the Vietnam War.
“It’s definitely a nice gift. I definitely appreciate it. I’m just an Ordinary Joe,” Thomason said. “I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the service.”
“Being a Vietnam veteran myself and a recipient of one of those quilts, it’s a very emotional moment. You can see that in those three who received them,” Corso said.
StoryPoint Chesterton Executive Director Courtney Fokianos also honored the spouses of veterans by giving each of them at the ceremony a rose. After the presentation, StoryPoint provided food and drinks for those attending the event.
Many people attending the event were touched by Corso’s speech, the presentation of the quilts to Piette, Forney, and Thomason, and how this event honored those who have made sacrifices for the United States.
To learn more about StoryPoint Chesterton, check out https://www.storypoint.com/chesterton-in/.