2 vets earn Quilts of Valor
Heather and Tony Schiller of rural Blooming Prairie recently hosted a special event involving Heather's father, Timothy Bass and her father-in-law, Kenneth Schiller.
U.S. Army veterans Tim Bass and Ken Schiller received Quilts of Valor from a local Blooming Prairie quilting group. The quilting group, led by Chris Butler, has presented over 160 Quilts of Valor to area service men and women.
Marilyn Witzel of the Blooming Prairie American Legion and VFW auxiliaries, presented the quilts to both recipients at Heather's home on July 3.
Chris Butler is the originator of the Quilts of Valor program in Blooming Prairie. Since Veterans Day on Nov. 11, 2014, the local quilting group has made more than 160 Quilts of Valor and given them ceremonially to deserving members of the military.
Paying tribute to the creators of the beautiful quilts, Butler said, "These women have put their hearts, time and talents into these quilts."
The Quilts of Valor Foundation was started nationally with a Blue Star mother, Catherine Roberts of Seaford, Delaware in 2003.
The first quilt the foundation made was for a young soldier from Minnesota who had lost a leg in Iraq in 2003.
"Words can't explain how proud I am to receive this honor," remarked Army veteran Tim Bass. "It's humbling," said Ken Schiller.
Sophia Schiller interviewed both recipients prior to the formal presentation of the quilts.
Tim Bass attended elementary school at the Walnut Grove Elementary School in Des Moines, Iowa. He graduated from Claremont High School in Claremont in 1966.
Bass joined the U.S. Army on Sept. 20, 1967. He served two years after being drafted. He then attended basic training at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He recalls basic training very vividly, remembering the times he got up at 4 a.m. ran and shot different weapons.
Serving most of his time in Germany, Bass was an ALT tank commander and reached the rank of Sergeant E-5.
His favorite food served while he was in the Army was brats and sauerkraut, plus spicy potato salad.
Asked to share a story about a military experience, Bass responded: "Another gentleman and I checked out a jeep and went to Italy so the other man could buy a tapestry. It took a week for it to be made.
"On the way back the jeep ran out of fuel, and we weren't close to anywhere to get any so we added some cognac to the gas tank. We had to drive all over the country side, up and down hills, mountains, and towns.
"When we returned to the Base the commander wanted to know why the jeep was running so terribly, we felt bad for what happened and couldn't tell him. We never used the jeep again."
Ken Schiller attended elementary school at Litomysl Catholic School in rural Owatonna. He graduated from Blooming Prairie High School in 1970.
Schiller joined the U.S. Army in 1971 and served two years. He said he joined the Army to serve and get in before all of his friends got out.
He took basic training at Fort Lewis, Wash. and remembers days filled with lots of push-ups and yelling.
His primary job in the Army was serving as a recovery vehicle operator. He served in Budign, Germany and attained the rank of Specialist 4.
His favorite food in the Army was breakfast food, eggs, sausage, toast and bacon.
Recalling an experience in the Army, Schiller replied: "I spent a lot of time going into the Artillery Field and shooting big guns at little planes. I went into target practice and shot 50's and pom pom guns. I was in a turret with four 50-caliber machine guns at Fort Bliss Texas when a gun exploded in another man's face."