A warm thank you: Gregg’s service honored

April 2017 Posted in Community, People
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Art Gregg is flanked by step-son, Jim Ewers, and daughter, Ann Snelling, at his “Quilts of Valor Foundation” presentation ceremony.

By Nancy Jennings

Silverton resident and WWII veteran, Art Gregg, 98, received a one-of-a-kind “thank you” gift on a recent drizzly March afternoon. A quilt. But it wasn’t just any quilt. The Oregon Chapter of the Quilts of Valor (QOV) Foundation awarded him a handmade quilt to recognize and honor his military service.

The mission statement of the QOV Foundation is to “cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing quilts.”

An Army Air Corps fighter pilot during WWII, Gregg graduated from flight school just five days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. He fought in the China Burma India Theater of World War II. He served under the command of General Claire Lee Chenault, leader of the 14th Air Force – and famous for the “Flying Tigers.” Gregg was engaged in air combat with Japanese Zeros.

“I’m proud of what I did,” he said.

For Gregg, who has lived with his daughter, Ann Snelling, and her husband, Le, for nearly three years – it was an honor of a lifetime. His daughter-in-law Ruth Ewers, who lives in Utah with his step-son, Jim, nominated him for the special award.

“When I nominated him, I said ‘you may want to expedite this because he’s 98,’” Ruth said. “He was the local hero.” She added the quilt was ready within three days.

“He’s been a great parent,” Ann said. She admires her father’s keeping busy with volunteer activities, attending church functions and riding in classic cars during Silverton’s annual Homer Davenport parade.

Gregg was married to his beloved wife, Marguerite, for 58 years. She passed in 2004. Together, they raised three children: Jim Ewers, Charles Gregg and Ann Snelling. Seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren round out his family.

Fellow Silverton resident Terry Thomas has known Gregg for over 40 years. He was more than happy to witness his long-time friend’s special recognition.

“I think it’s incredible. Art has been a real role model. He’s always had a positive attitude,” Thomas said.

Maureen Orr Eldred, Oregon Individual Request Coordinator Group Leader of the Northwest Quilters QOV Volunteers, has been involved in the foundation for 13 years with her husband, Bob.

“I feel a deep privilege that we can, at last, say ‘thank you’ in a personal and tangible way to a veteran,” she said.

“Regardless of what the veteran’s time of service was, we know he or she has not received proper acknowledgment. A Quilt of Valor is not enough, but it represents the thanks of our country. We try to convey that during the award ceremony. We love what we do.”

When asked how he plans to display his quilt – which sports an airplane pattern – Gregg answered with a grin, “I’ll use it to keep warm.”

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