Monticello veterans honored with Quilts of Valor

During the Monticello veterans’ annual soup dinner on Nov. 13, four veterans were honored with handmade Quilts of Valor. Presenting the quilts were Kim and Pat Tauke, seen here with Ron Behrends. Each quilt was wrapped around the veteran as the ladies thanked them for their service. (Photos by Kim Brooks)

Denny Gray (right) with the Monticello American Legion recognizes Quilt of Valor recipient Bill Hintz for his 60 continuous years as a member of the Legion.

Pat and Kim Tauke present Mike Lambert with his Quilt of Valor.

Frank Smith is honored with a Quilt of Valor, made by both Pat and Kim Tauke. Smith was at Iwo Jima the day the Marines raised the flag on Mt. Suribachi.

     Five Monticello veterans were honored recently with nationally registered Quilts of Valor (QOV).

     On Nov. 13, four local veterans were presented with hand-made quilts during their annual soup dinner at the Veterans Hall. Those present were Mike Lambert, Bill Hintz, Ron Behrends, and Frank Smith. (Charlie Kelchen was unable to attend.)

     Kim Tauke of Monticello and her mother-in-law Pat Tauke are working together to donate their time, talents, and money toward hand sewing quilts for Monticello veterans. (Kim’s husband, Steve, and son, Mike Lindenberg, both serve on the Monticello Drill Team.)

     The two women started doing the Quilts of Valor project five years ago, giving quilts to veterans in Maquoketa. Now, they want to honor Monticello veterans.

     The Quilts of Valor mission is to cover all warriors and veterans who have been touched by war with a healing and comfort. Upon presenting the quilts, both Kim and Pat gave each veteran a hug and thanked them for their service. She said that’s part of their personal requirements.

     “We say thank you for your service and welcome you home if you have never been told,” said Kim. “In the quilting world, this quilt represents your Purple Heart from all of us.”

     Quilts of Valor started as a national organization in 2003 from a Blue Star Mom, Catherine Roberts, in the State of Delaware. Her son, Nathaniel, was deployed to Iraq for a year, which was her inspiration, her desire to see returning warriors welcomed home with the love and gratitude they deserve.

     Roberts set out to see that all veterans, both men and women, were covered by quilts. The quilts are a tangible reminder of America’s appreciation and gratitude.

     Quilts of Valor serves veterans at home and abroad.

     “The quilts are stitched with love, prayers, and healing thoughts,” said Kim. “Our service men and women who stepped forward to put their lives on the line to serve and protect our country are awarded this token of appreciation that says, ‘Thank you for your service, sacrifice, and valor.’

     “If you were overseas or never left the U.S. shores, you stepped up and made the ultimate sacrifice by signing your name on the dotted line to serve and protect our country in whatever means you were asked,” concluded Kim.

     As of today, 171,000 quilts have been awarded to veterans since 2003 all across the U.S. The Taukes have made between 40 and 45 quilts between the two of them in the past five years since they started their own local QOV mission.

     Inside each quilt is a personalized story about that veteran’s service and sacrifice. Each veteran is also presented with a certificate, along with their quilt.

     “They are never to be sold or thrown away,” said Kim. “The quilts are to be passed down to family.”

     Mike Lambert served in the Army from March 1968 through March 1970. He was part of the 11B Airborne Infantry. He was sent to Vietnam from March 1969 until March 1970, serving with the 75th Infantry Rangers and 173rd Airborne Division.

     Today, Lambert is Quartermaster for both the VFW Post 1683 and American Legion Post 209.

     Bill Hintz also served in the Army from 1946 through August 1951. He was initially stationed in Haneda, Japan. In 1949, Hintz was discharged, but later recalled to the Active Reserve Army Air Corps. He served again from 1950-51. In 1951, he was discharged again as a Staff Sergeant.

     Hintz was also presented with a certificate for his 60 continuous years as a member of the Monticello American Legion.

     Ron Behrends served in the Navy from June 1956 until June 1960. He spent time in Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Morocco, the Mediterranean, and Rome. While stationed in Rome, Behrends was blessed twice by the Pope.

     Frank Smith served with the 4th Marine 24th Regiment, Assault Regiment Division. He served from 1942-46. Smith spent time in Midway in the North Pacific, Guam, Sia Pam, Tinian, Kwiyalein Atoll Marshall Islands, and Iwo Jima. During Smith’s time at Iwo Jima, on Feb. 23, 1945, he stood guard and helped protect the Marines who raised the flag on Mt. Suribachi. Those Marines are forever captured in the famous Iwo Jima photo and national monument in Washington, D.C.

     Charlie Kelchen served in the Army’s 25th Infantry. He was sent to South Vietnam in May 1969 as part of a Reconnaissance Platoon. Kelchen flew helicopters up and down the now-famous Ho Chi Minh Trail to search for caches of weapons and supplies. Kelchen was also a radio telephone operator, the first one off the helicopters and the last one on. On Aug. 28, 1969, while walking from his compound, Kelchen and his group were ambushed with underground explosives. He lost both of his legs above the knee and was paralyzed from the waist down.

     “In doing this project,” said Kim, “you learn a lot about our veterans. In some cases, I’m surprised you all made it home.”

     Kim and Pat do accept donations so they can continue honoring Monticello veterans with a QOV on an annual basis. To donate to their cause, contact Kim Tauke at or 319-480-1522.

     For more information QOV, visit


Subscriber Login