Alabama First Lady Dianne Bentley honored four Mobile area veterans last night by presenting them with Quilts of Valor at the Azalea City Republican Women’s January meeting.
According to ACRW President Donna Skipper, the Quilts of Valor tradition began with a mission to welcome home warriors by covering them with love, comfort and healing.
As of August 2014, more than 100,000 quilts have been awarded to servicemembers and veterans that “would be a tangible reminder of America’s appreciation and gratitude,” she said.
Those honored last night were Wayne Boatman, Wallace Curley, Charles Larrimore and Jonathan McConnell.
Boatman, a 1967 Murphy High School graduate and former baseball player for the Atlanta Braves, entered the U.S. Army in 1968. He was deployed to South Vietnam, and after one year of service, returned to the U.S. and joined the Military Police Battalion before leaving the Army in 1971 as an E5 Sergeant.
Curley joined the U.S. Navy at 17 years old, having grown up in Illinois. He was deployed to the Pacific prior to the end of World War II. After leaving the Navy, he entered the restaurant and trucking business, later became a full-time pastor and retired in 2000.
Larrimore served during the time of the Cold War and upon returning to the U.S., he went on to serve on the ALDOT executive committee.
A graduate from Davidson High School, McConnell was a member of the U.S. Marine Corps, serving in Iraq and Syria. After serving, he pursued a law degree at the University of Alabama.
Bentley, a quilter herself, praised all of the 420,000 veterans in Alabama, noting her father served in World War II and her husband, Gov. Robert Bentley, served in the U.S. Air Force.
“The time and love you put into the quilts for these soldiers makes me so proud,” she said.