Five decades after his service overseas, Lake Havasu City resident Mike Delaney is still receiving recognition for his time in Vietnam.
This past weekend Delaney was presented with a patriotic quilt from the nonprofit organization Quilts of Valor. The foundation was founded in 2003 by Blue Star mother Catherine Roberts whose son served in Iraq.
Roberts came up with the concept for Quilts of Valor when she had a dream about a despondent soldier sitting on their bed weighed down by their “war demons.’’ In the next scene in her dream, Roberts saw the same soldier wrapped in a quilt this time looking hopeful.
For Roberts the message of her dream was clear, quilts equal healing. Since 2003 Quilts of Valor has awarded over 269,000 veterans and active service members with handcrafted quilts.
Delaney had previously been unaware of the organization until a family member nominated him.
“I had never heard of them until my sister-in-law, Julie from Minnesota called to let me know she had nominated me,” Delaney said. “What a great way to recognize veterans for their service and sacrifice.”
Delaney served as infantry officer in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969 where he was an advisor to multiple Army of the Republic of Vietnam units. He was awarded his quilt by a fellow Vietnam veteran, Jennifer Wilson who served as a surgical nurse based in Saigon.
In a blog post Delaney wrote about receiving the quilt, he reflected on the harsh treatment many veterans of the Vietnam War received when they returned home.
“In case you didn’t know, Nam vets were harassed, vilified, and spat upon when we returned to the US,” Delany wrote. “We received no ‘welcome home’, no ‘thank you for your service’, no anything from either the public or the government.”
To finally receive recognition and appreciation for his service to the country means a lot to Delaney.
“It felt pretty damn good,” Delaney said.