CHAPIN, SC (WIS) - Tonight out in Chapin, American Legion Post 193 hosted an event to honor veterans in our area. Quilts of Valor is a non-profit group that creates full-sized handmade quilts for those who’ve served.
One of those veterans was a Pearl Harbor survivor who is one of only three living survivors in the state.
Thomas H. Ryan Sr. was humble and in high spirits. The 97-year-old was honored tonight for his heroic service at Pearl Harbor. Ryan was stationed to the USS Pyro and sprang into action after the attack to pull survivors out of the burning oil.
“I was never one for praise or stuff like that,” Ryan said.
One by one, veterans of all ages took the stage to be draped in a Quilt of Valor. A handmade token meant to say thank you.
“The ordinary fellow, who in times of war and strife, goes off to serve his country and offers up his life,” local organizer Jodi Donnelly said as she read from a poem.
Tonight, in a small room, in a small town, one community came together to honor true heroes like Ryan who were ready to make the biggest sacrifice.
“This is my dad, as a captain in 1945, and he was drafted in June of 1941,” US Air Force veteran Mayor David Knight said. “He was my hero.”
Organizers said that South Carolina gives out more Quilts of Valor than any other state. If you’re interested in volunteering or donating to their cause, you can find out more information here.
Nationally, Quilts of Valor has awarded more than 200,000 quilts to our veterans.