COLONY, Ala. – Melvin Hammond, Colony town councilman and U.S. Navy Vietnam veteran, was presented a Quilt of Valor during a ceremony Thursday morning at the Colony Senior Center. Quilts of Valor Foundation North Alabama District Coordinator Mary Harris made the presentation, assisted by volunteer quilter Caroline East, wrapping Hammond in the quilt decorated with the motif of naval pennants.
Harris advised Hammond she hopes he will use the quilt and not just display it, saying, “The highest honor you can pay me is to wear it out by loving it too much. If you do that, you give me a call, and I’ll see that you get another one!”
The Quilts of Valor Foundation’s stated mission is “to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.” Since 2003, the group has presented more than 246,000 quilts to veterans and certain civilians who served in various capacities to support the U.S. military or veterans.
On the organization’s website, founder Catherine Roberts wrote, “I knew a Quilt of Valor had to be a quality-made quilt, not a ‘charity quilt.’ A Quilt of Valor had to be quilted, not tied, which meant hand or machine quilting. Quilts of Valor would be ‘awarded,’ not just passed out like magazines or videos. A Quilt of Valor would say unequivocally, ‘Thank you for your service, sacrifice, and valor’ in serving our nation in combat.”
Hammond served in the U.S. Navy from 1968 to 1988, including combat tours in Vietnam. His posts included the U.S.S. America, U.S.S. Nimitz and U.S.S. Forrestal. He related to The Tribune that, in his years at sea, he circumnavigated the planet and visited both the Arctic and Antarctic Circles.
- National Defense Medal
- Navy Unit Commendation Medal, second award
- Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal, third award
- Good Conduct Medal, second award
- Vietnam Service Medal with star
Hammond retired from the Navy and an E-6 yeoman first class, entering a second career with the U.S. Postal Service.
Hammond said of military service, “I think everybody should serve, because it’s a unique experience and I got to see more of the world than I’ve seen of the United States. I believe that younger people would benefit out of this, too.”
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