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Quilt Of Valor Awarded At HARB

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Posted: Friday, May 22, 2015 12:00 am | Updated: 2:59 pm, Fri May 22, 2015.

"It's Gorgeous," said Charli Kate Rodgers as she was handed the quilt. On one side was a tapestry of rectangles made up of American flags and patriotic logos; on the other side was a kaleidoscope of stars in different colors and designs. Her toddler Noah smiled as he was covered under the soft cloth when Rodgers and Joyce Cotner unfolded the gift.

  Cotner made the quilt for Charli's husband Master Sergeant Victor Rodgers to commemorate her appreciation to his service.

  Retired Air Force Colonel Charlotte De Ogburn also made a quilt for Technical Sergeant Ryan Lowry: a dark blue landscape with colorful stripes on one side and bright baby blue field with stars and encouraging words on the other.

  Both presented their quilts at a special celebration last week at the Homestead Air Reserve Base hosted by the South Dade Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America and the Quilts of Valor Foundation.

  Quilts are usually made with a specific member of the military, who has been touched by war, in mind.

"It's to let our warriors, our veterans know that we care," said Cotner. "That they are not alone, we support them, we appreciate their service, and we recognize their efforts. There are people who make a difference, and they make a difference."

  Cotner's husband, Major Paul Cotner, helps pick out the colors for her design.

  "Quilts of valor are stitched with love , prayers, and healing thoughts," said Ogburn.

  Ogburn says it could take months to finish one of the quilts.

  "You don't start to finish, you work on it intermittently," said Ogburn. "It's fun to do, putting on bindings is not my favorite thing to do, but it means it is the end of the quilt."

  Brigadier General Kurt L. Sonntag, Commander of Special Operations Command South, spoke on the accomplishments of Rodgers at the presentation. He said:

  "We are honored to recognize Army Special Forces Master Sergeant for services to the nation. 

  He began his special forces training 18C Engineer  2003 to the 7th special forces group where he took part three combat deployment in Afghanistan.  

  On one of his deployments MSG Rodgers was involved in a two week period of intense fighting in the Maroof valley south east corner of the country.

  During the conduct of an early morning reconnaissance patrol an enemy force of approximately 70 fighters initiated a disciplined near ambush with RPG and small arms fire against the U.S. column.     One member, Staff Sgt Joshua Whitaker, was mortally wounded by enemy fire early on in the action. With the convoy now partially stalled in the kill zone, MSG Rodgers began providing effective fire against the enemy from a machine gun position at the rear of his vehicle.  At some point during the fight MSG Rodgers received multiple shrapnel wounds to both arms. With disregard to his own safety and while ignoring his own wounds MSG Rodgers continued to fight and move to advantages positions within the kill zone where he provided punishing fire against the enemy. Ultimately his actions greatly contributed to their ability to break the ambush and survive that day's fight. For his valor's actions and wounds MSG Rodgers was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart."

  "Words can not express the gratitude our family feels for receiving this quilt," said Mrs. Rodgers. “And how cherished it will be in our family. My husband wished he had a chance to be here, but duty calls."

  Lowry, a 14 year veteran in the Air Force, was introduced by Colonel Edwin Rozyskie and Lieutenant Colonel Harold Talbert.

  Colonel Rozyskie said:

"They did a great job at selecting an extremely outstanding person- he comes from a small town in Pennsylvania where they just go their first stop light. Things are looking up. He has a criminal justice degree from AmericaMilitaryUniversity and has attended TempleUniversity. In his civilian job he was presented with the Governor's Sentry Cup for 100 DUI arrests in one year. He has done an outstanding job at that."

  LCOL Talbert said:

  "One of the troops who steps forward instead of backwards. He's worked a mired of jobs from base defense operations controller to battle captain. He has been a task operator , and perimeter protection.

  He is one of our shinny pennies, always stepping forward and taking that extra effort, and I wish I had more like him. Very fortunate to have him."

  "Troops who have been wounded or touched by war are awarded this very tangible token of our appreciation for their service, their sacrifice, and their valor," said De Ogburn.

  "It's beautiful," Lowry said while helping De Ogburn unfold her quilt for him. 

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