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Veterans honored with quilts
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U.S. Army veteran Tom Davis and wife, Cindy, display his patriotic quilt which includes pieces of his uniform. - photo by Lacy Garrison
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Recently receiving Quilts of Valor from the Hearth and Home Valor Gals are, from left, Jerry Overcast, Wayne Wolford, Tom Davis, guild member and program director Lyn Stinnett standing in for Bill Stewart, Fred Newman, Eddie Pearson and Johnny Gibbs. Upon presentation, each recipient is “wrapped” in their quilt in a way to comfort and heal those touched by war. - photo by Lacy Garrison

Since its inception in 2003, the Quilts of Valor Foundation has awarded over 200,000 quilts to veterans in all 50 states. The foundation was started by Catherine Roberts while her son was deployed in Iraq.

Fourteen members of Hearth and Home Quilters Guild of Warren County are members of the QOV Foundation, and have made 20 Quilts of Valor for living veterans, and 30 Home of the Brave quilts for families of deceased veterans. 

A presentation ceremony was held at Centertown United Methodist Church with guild members presenting quilts to Jerry Overcast, Wayne Wolford, Tom Davis, Bill Stewart, Fred Newman, Eddie Pearson and Johnny Gibbs.

Guild member and program director Lyn Stinnett introduced the gentlemen while they were wrapped in their unique and handmade patriotic quilt. Information about the recipients include:

Bill Stewart served the U.S. Marines from October 1968 to 1969. Stewart arrived in Vietnam and was a certified radio operator. Then, his point man stepped on a booby trap and Stewart was wounded with 32 pieces of shrapnel in 18 different places. Even though he was severely wounded, Stewart repaired his own radio then fell unconscious for the next seven days before waking in a hospital. He was then transferred to the U.S. and was hospitalized until November 1969. He was listed as 70 percent permanently disabled before being discharged.

Stewart was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. In retirement, he received a Good Conduct Award. After his discharge, Stewart retired from the local Employment Security Office, which is a part of the Department of Labor in 2009 after 34 years on the job.

Thomas E. Davis served in the U.S. Army from July 1989 to April 2014 before retiring as Sgt. First Class. He was stationed in Fort Bragg, N.C., Camp Humphreys, Korea, Saginaw, Michigan, Fort Hood, Texas, Fort Jackson, S.C., Fort Irwin, Calif., and Fort Carson, Colo. Among his numerous awards, badges and recognitions are the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Bronze Star Medal and Meritorious Service Medal 4th Award. 

Following his military service, he moved back to Arizona where he worked as a peace officer. In 2017, he move to Tennessee to be closer to his daughter. Davis is currently the property manager at Overton Retreat in McMinnville.

Johnny Gibbs enlisted in the U.S. Army in September 1965 as part of the 82 Airborne Division. He served the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam as a paratrooper making over 50 jumps. He served for three years on active duty then, in 1977, he enlisted in the Tennessee National Guard. While in the National Guard, he served as a Platoon Sgt., Squad Leader, First Sgt., and was an instructor at Tennessee Military Academy in Smyrna. 

Gibbs earned several awards including the Gold Medallion, which is the highest honor. Only 76 people have received this award and among them was General George S. Patton. He retired in 2005 with 31 and a half years and the rank of Master Sgt. Since retiring, he participates in community service and is a bus driver for the City of McMinnville.

Wayne Wolford Sr. enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1975 before retiring in 1995 from Fort Stewart, Ga. as an E6 Staff Sgt. While stationed there, he performed and supervised maintenance on meteorological equipment and reduced operational expenses on $2 million work of equipment which saved over $800,000 in repairs.

Following his military service, he received several diplomas and certifications. He also worked as a substitute teacher for WCHS for several years.

Fred Lee Newman was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War and was stationed in Germany working to send messages. He served from 1950 to 1953 and left as a Corporal. Although he did not see battle, he lost most of his hearing from being on the shooting range during a time when ear protection was not used. He received the Marksmanship Medal. 

After the Army, Newman served as a federal government employee for 37 years.

Jerry Overcast joined the U.S. Air Force in December 1963 and fought in the Vietnam War for 12 months. He was stationed all over including in Lackland and Amarillo, Texas, Larson, Wash., Tokyo, Japan, Hong Kong, China, all over South East Asia and the Philippines. Overcast received several awards including Marksmanship, Good Conduct, Longevity and Vietnam Defense Medal. 

Following his time in the military, Overcast has been a salesman for Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, a Purity route driver, a trainer for Createc and a photographer.

Eddie Pearson served in the U.S. Air Force from 1967 to 1974. He served for two and a half years in Vietnam and left with the rank of Staff Sgt. His last two years of service took place at Reserve Officer Training Corps at Memphis State University. Among his awards and medals, Newman said his three Commendation Medals, which are for sustained acts of heroism or meritorious service, are his most treasured. 

As for his career after the military, Pearson said he’s worked mostly in the areas concerning the oil business.

For more information about Hearth and Home Quilting Guild, Stinnett can be contacted at 931-939-2433.