National Commander Jim Koutz,
I had the honor of meeting you while you were visiting Bemidji, Minnesota. I donate this case (24 books) of Muddy Jungle Rivers for your Operation Comfort Warriors program.
Feel free to use the books in whichever way you think most fitting. (Mailed to National Headquarters Feb 18, 2013.)
Keep up the good work.
cc: Al Zdon, Communications Director/Editor American Legion, Dept of Minnesota
Quilt of Valor
Presented to: Wendell “Afe” Affield
Handmade/Quilted by Lanee
Dedicated With Thanks for Serving
“Lanee” is Kathleen Paulson, Solway, Minnesota. This past Saturday afternoon, Kathleen, her husband, Mark, and her parents, Kenny and Carol Stevens, stopped by our home and presented the quilt. I am deeply humbled and will treasure this keepsake.
I was not familiar with the Quilt of Valor program so I Googled it and discovered that,
“A Quilt of Valor is a wartime quilt made to honor our war wounded. It is a tangible way to say: “Thank you for your service, sacrifice and valor for our country.””
My war ended over forty years ago but we have again been at war for more than a decade so these Quilts of Valor truly are “wartime quilts.”
After Lanee and her family left I studied the quilt—the tiny, intricate stitching, the unique pattern design, the quilting. I’m sure Lanee spent many, many hours creating this piece of art. She even stitched in, “Treasure each Moment” a phrase I had written in her father’s copy of Muddy Jungle Rivers.
As I studied the pictures we took, I reflected on the two little girls, Kadance and Livia, perched on the quilt. The older girl, Kadance, was an infant when I began writing Muddy Jungle Rivers. One evening this poem, “Lullaby for the Lost,” came to me as I held her:
Autumn’s rain echoes overhead
as I rock my granddaughter tonight
Another tune, staccato,
lulled you to sleep
on a muddy jungle river
Readers have asked why I use no punctuation—no periods. How do you explain that there is no end to loving a grandchild: No end to remembering those we lost in war?
Today I mourn the young men and women lost in this new war who will never have a chance to hold a grandchild. But it is comforting to know there are people in the world like Lanee who step forward and offer a symbol representing what we sacrificed for.
Thank you, Lanee