Woodsmall receives a warm thank you for his service
By BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
Glen Woodsmall of Salem received a warm thank you last Thursday evening for service in Vietnam.
Over four decades have passed since Woodsmall was a Spec. 4 in the Army, serving with the 3rd and 17th Air Cavalry HQ. A forklift accident has robbed him of most of his memory, but he does remember one thing — the treatment the troops received by Americans following the war.
“We were treated decently by the Vietnamese, but I was really disappointed by the way we were treated when we came home,” he said.
He, however, admitted that time does change things. Feelings have changed and Thursday night’s presentation was further evidence of that.
Judy Masur of Linwood, Kan., who is a volunteer with the Hope for Valor organization, personally presented Woodsmall with an heirloom-quality quilt — just to thank him for his service.
“We really want you to know how much we love and appreciate you,” Masur said as she presented Woodsmall his quilt. “I hope this give you comfort.”
Woodsmall, who grew up in various eastern Iowa communities, before enlisting in the Army, serving in Vietnam from 1969-72. He said he enlisted in the Army “because I did not want to have to go to the Marines. I wanted to join the Army because my father was an Army veteran.”
He served as a mechanic in the army and said he has little recollection of his service time. “I don’t remember a lot, I just took it a day at a time.”
Following active duty, he returned to Iowa and settled in Salem and was in the Army Reserves for two years. He worked construction initially and then ran a service station in Mt. Pleasant before becoming a forklift driver at the Goodyear plant (now Veyance).
While working at the plant, he had a forklift accident and has been on disability ever since. His long-term memory is better than his short-term but Woodsmall freely admits, “it (memory) constantly got worse.”
Masur and Woodsmall’s wife (Rhonda) became online friends a number of years ago, largely bound by their love for quilting. Through the friendship, Masur learned about Glen.
Hope for Valor is a 10-year-old organization, founded during the Iraq War. The group was founded by quilters who wanted to express their thanks to troops coming home from Iraq. Soon, the thanks was extended to troops serving in Afghanistan and now the group recognizes servicemen and women serving in any of the nation’s conflicts and wars.
“It started because we wanted to give something to our wounded soldiers from Iraq,” Masur explained. “At that time, we shipped the quilts to Germany. Then we expanded it to not only include soldiers suffering from physical injuries but also emotionally.”
Hope for Valor is entirely non-profit. One hundred percent of funds raised is for quilt production. “Every cent goes to the quilts, nothing goes to administrative fees,” Masur told Woodsmall and his extended family (the Woodsmalls have three children and numerous grandchildren) prior to the presentation.
During its 10-year existence, Hope for Valor has presented 80,000 quilts to soldiers. The Kansas City group (of which Masur is a member) presented 450 quilts last year.
“We try to make the presentations in person because we want them to know we care about them,” Masur noted. “It is the best feeling in the world when I can go and present a soldier with a quilt because I can see how much they covet it. There are so many men and women who have served the country and never received the recognition they deserved.”
Woodsmall said you won’t find the quilt on any bed soon. Admiring his keepsake, he observed, “This is pretty nice. I think I will tuck it away.”
It is said that sometimes it is better to give than receive and that is the way Masur felt after handing Woodsmall his gift.
“Many times, it does more for me than them,” she surmised. “My husband and father were Vietnam veterans. It is very meaningful for me to be able to present this (quilt) to them.”