Clovis Vietnam vet awarded Quilt of Valor for service

Feb. 13—From the intricately stitched stars to the vibrant red, white and blue patterns, Vietnam Veteran Jessie Strauch said she was absolutely in shock when her hands ran over her Quilt of Valor. She said memories of her years of service came flooding in when she touched the fabric.

The memory of rigorous training drills, the adventure to every new move, and the laughs she often shared with her friends, all came back to Strauch in a "beautifully stitched quilt."

Strauch, 73, said she had received the Quilt of Valor award sometime in August 2023. She said she was completely surprised when a uniquely designed quilt arrived at her door.

"I wasn't expecting this. But as soon as I received the quilt, memories of all the friends I made and adventures I went on while I was in service began to come in... I was just so happy to be reminded of my time in the Navy," Strauch said.

From 1973 to 1975 Strauch served two years in the Navy as a medic and dental technician, before being honorably discharged from a back injury while in service. She said her goal was to serve the country her entire life, but due to an unexpected accident her career ended sooner than she anticipated.

"I loved seeing new places, making new friends and helping people. I was really devastated, especially while I was recovering at the hospital for so long," Strauch said.

Strauch said after healing from her injury, the military realized she wouldn't physically be capable of handling all her duty's tasks and she was sent back to Clovis shortly after that.

Linda Robinson, NM state coordinator for the Quilts of Valor Foundation, said Strauch was nominated by Kathi Henderson. Robinson said the foundation's goal is to not only provide recognition for veterans, but to give them something that they can utilize for the rest of their life.

"We have people who nominate veterans that they know of and the mission of Quilts of Valor is to cover service members and veterans with comforting and healing quilts of valor," Robinson said.

Robinson said the foundation has crafted custom quilts for 375,337 service members since the beginning of 2003. Strauch said she keeps her quilt on her bed since the weather has gotten colder, but always tries to show guests whenever she can.

Quilts have always been a part of Strauch's life. Though she hasn't made one since her injury, Strauch said her mother had often made her assist with the sewing when she was a child. She said she has quit the quilt collection and is overjoyed to add "such an honorable token" to it.