On January 28, World War II Veteran Gerald Gardner, of Sea Isle City, received a handmade quilt from South Jersey Quilts of Valor Sewing Group. The red-white-and-blue blanket, which was ceremoniously wrapper around the 91-year old during the presentation, helped complete the Quilts of Valor organization’s mission to “cover all combat service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing quilts.”
Originally from Pembroke, New Hampshire, Mr. Gardner, more commonly known as “Mr. G,” enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1943 shortly after graduating from high school. After a bout with Scarlett Fever during the early part of his naval career, he went on to serve as a diesel mechanic on a Minesweeper tender ship in the Pacific theater, ultimately advancing to the rank of Third Class Petty Officer.
Following World War II, Mr. Gardner attended the University of New Hampshire on the G.I. Bill and earned a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management. His career in the service industry included work at the Benjamin Franklin Hotel in Philadelphia, serving as Director of Food Services for the Upper Darby (PA) School District, and owning and operating Mr. G’s Little Chef Restaurant at 29th and Spruce Street in Philly.
In 1977, Mr. Gardner and his wife, Mary Anne, moved their family of four from Drexel Hill, PA, to Sea Isle City, where they ran their second Mr. G’s Little Chef Restaurant at 3603 Landis Avenue for twenty years.
For the Quilts of Valor volunteers, serving those who served our nation is its own reward.
“This in an important program, because many of our veterans saw and experienced some awful things,” said Liz Barrett, of South Jersey Quilts of Valor. “Our veterans often put their lives on the line for us, and their families had to make great sacrifices as well. Our quilts are a physical way we can thank them for their service.”
“We are always happy to honor a World War II veteran, because unfortunately each year there are fewer members of The Greatest Generation still with us,” added Ms. Barrett. “Nonetheless, we want to honor all of our veterans – especially our Vietnam vets, many of whom were treated very badly when they returned home. It is not uncommon for veterans to become emotional when they receive their quilts – it’s extremely moving.”
To nominate a veteran to receive a handmade quilt or to make a monetary donation to Quilts of Valor, please visit www.QOVF.org.