“Blue Star Catherine Roberts began the Quilts of Valor from her sewing room in Seaford, Delaware, back in November 2003. Her son Nathanael, who was deployed in Iraq, provided the initial inspiration to see that returning warriors were welcomed home with the love and gratitude they deserved. These quilts are presented to returning service men and women wounded or touched by war.
Quilters across American have been invited to use their talents to show these brave young men and women how much their sacrifice is appreciated. These Quilts of Valor are stitched with love, prayers and healing thoughts (www.qovf.org).”
By Dottie Dewberry
Family and friends of retired Master Sgt. Byron Wilson of Cumberland held a special presentation of a Quilt of Valor at the Eupora Country Club on Feb. 6 to honor, to show respect and to show never-ending love for him and for his 32 years of service in the Mississippi Army National Guard (1963), Army Reserve, Active Guard and Reserve, and the 332nd Medical Brigade.
He was out from 1993-2005, when he returned to active duty. He retired again in 2007. Byron
served in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Noble Eagle.
Wilson traveled to all 50 states and more than a half-dozen countries while on active duty. During these 32 years he received many promotions and awards, including the Bronze Star,
Army Commendation Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal.
The afternoon affair was emceed by Wilson`s son, Keenan, who gave the welcome and the invocation.
Following the invocation, Melissa Cooper led the assembled group in singing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” our national anthem.
Field Representative Willy Weddle of Congressman Trent Kelly`s office in Eupora gave an overview of Wilson`s 32 years of military service. Then 1st Sgt. Darrell Surrette presented the
history of the Quilts of Valor (see above) and then presented the Patriotic Eight Point Star quilt to MSG Byron Wilson. This was a touching and emotional moment for his family and friends to witness.
The group then sang “God Bless America, which was led by Keenan Wilson.
This particular patriotic Eight-Point Star Quilt of Valor was not made by some quilt group from another area of the United States, but was made and quilted by local, hometown ladies known as the Sherwood Quilters of Mathiston. They are as follows: Reba Pinnix, Sally Sanderson, Syble Weeks, Lynda Tuck, Cherry Eaddy and Carol Cantrell, who pieced the quilt top. These ladies, some new quilters and some experienced quilters, donated the quilt for this ceremony honoring retired Master Sgt. James Byron Wilson.
Church of Christ Minister James Hill made closing remarks and led in the benediction. He then led the group in singing Brother Byron Wilson`s favorite song: “Jesus Loves Me.”
The beautiful reception that followed the ceremony was hosted by the membership of the Eupora Church of Christ. The three-tiered cake, a depiction of the patriotic eight-pointed star, was made by Joyce Hudspeth.
The room was patriotically decorated in red, white and blue colors. The honoree`s table held the Quilt of Valor, flowers and red candleholders on white, red and blue tablecloths. The other table was decorated with a framed poem by his wife of 50 years, Margaret Lott Wilson. Other decorations were a framed pencil drawing (also done my Margaret), photos of the honoree and his family, flowers, a U.S. flag and a miniature soldier, all reflecting the life and love of Byron.
James Byron Wilson was born Feb. 17, 1946, to J.N. and Nelly Farley Wilson. He is married to Mary Margaret Lott; they celebrated their 50th anniversary this past September. They have three children: Keenan and Cindy Wilson, Anette and Gary Kellum, and Cindy and Chris Garton. They have nine grandchildren: Evan, Allie and Natalie Wilson (Keenan); Peyton, Drew and Parker Kellum (Anette); and Gracie, Pate and Nathan Garton (Cindy).
This was a special tribute to a local man who gave his life to the service of his country by the people that love him the most – his family and friends.