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Herschel Brown, 98, one of several veterans honored during gathering Sunday, Nov. 24

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Herschel Brown, a World War II veteran, was one of 17 people who received Quilts of Valor during a Sunday afternoon, Nov. 24, ceremony. A longtime supporter of the Gresham Senior Center was honored alongside other veterans during a Quilts of Valor presentation Sunday afternoon, Nov. 24.

Herschel Brown, 98, who was drafted during World War II, was part of a group of 17 veterans who received Quilts of Valor during the presentation at the Gresham Senior Center, 600 N.E. Eighth St. The veterans received their handcrafted quilt in a room filled with family and friends.

"The quilts honor service members and veterans touched by war," said Lynda Lutz, NW Oregon state coordinator for Quilts of Valor. "Thank you for your service."

Brown, who moved to the Gresham area in 1975, was drafted into the Army in 1942. While the war raged overseas, he made his way to training camp — first to Camp Grant in Rockford, Illinois, and then to Texas. It was on his way south that his Rheumatic fever flared up, landing him in the hospital for a few weeks.

The lifetime illness, that would knock Brown off his feet about twice a year, kept him from being deployed. But, following the suggestion of a military general, he dove into the private sector as a machinist.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Herschel Brown, 98, marvels at his Quilt of Valor. "I never accepted things like (the Quilt of Valor) because I didn't think I deserved one," Brown said. "But they kind of pushed me this time."

For the Gresham Senior Center organizers, who nominated Brown for his quilt, it was a way to honor a man who has given so much back to the group.

When Brown retired as a manufacturer for the Cascade Corporation, he knew he wanted to find a way to stay active in the community. So he turned to the senior center.

"It's a place to go, play cards, do puzzles, and talk to people," Brown said.

Beyond taking advantage of the senior center's programs and social connections, Brown also gave back to the organization. He drove for Meals on Wheels for almost 15 years; was on the center's board of directors; and helped helm the NW Jamboree for more than a decade.

He also made a big donation a few years back to purchase the first quilting machine for the Gresham Senior Center.

"This is a great place to come visit," Brown said.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - The Gresham Senior Center hosted the Quilt of Valor ceremony, which honored local veterans.

Honoring valor

Seventeen local veterans were presented with quilts during the ceremony. They were:

-- Herschel Brown, Army — WWII

-- Charles Angell, Army — Vietnam

-- Carolyn Anderson, Navy

-- Jimmie Suchanek, Navy — Vietnam

-- John Pyryt, Navy — Vietnam

-- Larry Sullivan, Army National Guard

-- Douglas Helzer, Army — Vietnam

-- Mike Palumbo, Army — Vietnam

-- Thomas Kettle, Army

-- Richard Boggs, Navy — Vietnam

-- Tony Burke, Air Force

-- Gary Harris, Army

-- Ken Reimer, Navy

-- Colin Fygate, Army Airborne Rangers

-- Keith Lloyd, Navy

-- Dale Breeding, Navy

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