BEATRICE – What do a 95-year-old World War II Veteran and a 4-H fashion show have in common? Not much, but Friday night the two were combined for a moment that no one in attendance will soon forget.
Since 2003 Quilts of Valor has been awarding those touched by war with handmade quilts, and eight years after its inception Nebraska Extension challenged 4-H participants to help make Quilts of Valor.
“Since 2011 Nebraska 4-H has made over 350 quilts.”
Phyllis Schoenholz is the South Central Nebraska Quilts of Valor Coordinator, and helps 4-H with their Quilts of Valor projects which are given to both veterans and active duty military service members.
“The quilts are to be used. Not put in a box, not put on the shelf, but to be used. Either to be displayed or actually used, and know that a grateful nation is thanking them.”
Which brings us to Friday night at the Hevelone Center inside Beatrice High School, where 95-year-old Frank ‘Junior’ Thimm was presented with a Quilt of Valor for his service in the Pacific during World War II.
Sergeant T-4 Frank Thimm served in the United States Army from July 29, 1942 until his honorable discharge on May 14, 1947. Thimm was injured in battle in the Philippines in March 31, 1945, eventually having to have his right leg amputated.
Thimm was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his service to his country, and on Friday was awarded a Quilt of Valor 69 years after he left the military.
“I would just never imagine that an evening like this would happen.”
Thimm was joined on stage by friends and family, and reminisced about his children’s participation in 4-H during their youth. The man they call Junior also wishes to send a message to Shoenholz for her part in making his quilt.
“Well, I would like to give her a big hug and the biggest thank you that could come out of an old man. It’s just overwhelming, and I’m just thankful that I can be here this evening to have part of my family here and friends. It’s just been overwhelming.”
Thimm grew up in Beatrice, and returned home after a two year and two month stay in a Michigan military hospital following his injury overseas. A lifetime later he took to the stage in between events at a 4-H fashion show.
“It’s just been beautiful this evening, thank you.”
To find out more about Quilts of Valor, or to nominate someone to receive a quilt, visit qovf.org.
From everyone at News Channel Nebraska, we would like to thank Junior Thimm for his service to his country and his community.