By John Ellis
The Pike County American Legion Post 197 of Zebulon hosted a Quilt of Valor award program Tuesday, July 11 for one of its members – 101-year-old WWII/Korean War veteran Estelle Collins. The ceremony was at her Griffin home. The award was presented by Nancy Stafford of the Quilt of Valor Foundation which is a non for-profit organization that makes quilts with the help of many volunteers throughout the nation in honor of and for the comfort of deserving veterans.
Estelle signed up for the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) on Jan. 18, 1945 during World War II. After completing her basic training, Estelle was sent to Camp Atterbury Indiana where she completed 12 weeks Army Service Forces Surgical Technician training at the Wakeman Hospital Center. After training she was assigned to the Walter Reed General Hospital in Washington, DC Estelle worked in the surgical ward of the hospital. As a surgical technician, she administered medications, hypodermics and took temperatures and pulses while caring for military patients. She cleaned and sterilized instruments and prepared swabs and bandages. She requisitioned supplies for individual wards. She maintained records and reports pertaining to the progress of patients and other needed and necessary services. Many of her patients were seriously wounded military casualties who were transferred from the various WWII theaters of operations. During her tours of duty, Estelle served in the surgical wards of other hospitals such as the Oliver General Hospital in Augusta, Ga. and Ft. Mcpherson General Hospital in College Park, Ga. In May 1951, she was assigned to the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Forces Recruiting Main Station and induction Station in Birmingham, Alabama which was close to her home. On Oct. 2, 1951 Cpl Collins received a letter of Commendation from the Recruiting Command for exemplary service and on Oct. 10, 1951 she received an honorable discharge. During Estelle’s service time, she received six medals and decorations.
After the recent ceremony, members of Post 197 told Estelle they would be back on her 102 birthday for a birthday celebration, as they did last Feb. 28 for her 101st birthday. She was incredibly happy throughout the event.
A Quilt of Valor is a generous lap-sized quilt made by a quilt-topper of quality fabrics and beautifully quilted by a long-armer. After it has been bound, washed and labeled, it is ready to be awarded. Quilts are awarded at many different levels of service. They may go to military hospitals where Chaplains award them to service members and veterans.
“My quilt isn’t another military medal to be placed in a box and sit on my shelf. I was moved to tears,” said SSgt RC, U.S. Army, Iraq ‘05. As of July 2022, there have been more than 318,483 quilts awarded to service members and veterans.
To join the quilting efforts or for more information, go to QOVF.org.
101-year-old WWII veteran presented with Quilt of Valor
By John Ellis