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American Legion honors Ota, Riley with Quilt of Valor

MADISON – Members of Madison American Legion, Post 229 recently awarded Herb Ota and Michael Riley with the Quilt of Valor.

Legionnaires presented the commemorative quilts during the post’s family holiday social on Dec. 8 at Black Patch Distilling Co. at 500 Lanier Road, Suite C-3 in Madison.

“Commander Larry Vannoy recognized some of our post’s most outstanding volunteers, and the American Legion Auxiliary shared door prizes,” Jean Downs said. Downs serves as Post 229 Vice Commander and as President of Madison American Legion Auxiliary.

“In addition to a wonderful meal, we honored two worthy veterans with the Quilt of Valor,” Downs said. “Our honorees were Michael Riley and Herb Ota.”

Ota was born on July 23, 1930, in Hilo, Hawaii. He joined the U.S. Army on Oct. 13, 1952, and served for 21 years until his retirement on May 31, 1973. His service included tours of duty in Korea and Vietnam.

During his service, Ota was awarded the Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal, Army Unit Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with two Bronze Stars, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon with two Bars and the Sharpshooter Marksmanship Badge (M-14).

Ota’s final rank was Sergeant First Class, E-7. He is a member of Madison American Legion, Post 229.

Michael Riley joined the U.S. Army in 1972. He served 34 years until retiring in 2006.

Riley served tours of duty in Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Panama and Korea.

Riley’s honors include the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal and Korean Defense Medal.

Riley’s final rank was Staff Sergeant, E-6.

Constructed by hand or by machine, the Quilt of Valor is awarded to a service member or veteran who has been touched by war. The quilt’s message is, “Thank you for your service and sacrifice in serving our nation.” (qovf.com)

To use the term ‘Quilt of Valor,’ the quilt must be a specific size, made with a label that states required information and must be awarded. The quilt is not a gift.

In Alabama, the Quilts of Valor movement started with the Enterprise Quilt Guild, many connected to soldiers at nearby Fort Rucker.

The quilts’ message is “Quilts = Healing.” For more information, visit qovf.com.

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