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Veteran receives Quilt of Valor

Rhende Hagemeister, with the Quilts of Valor group of Brainerd, presents a quilt to Elmer ’Jake’ Yliniemi and his wife, Madeline.

BY Anna Erickson

Elmer ‘Jake’ Jacob Yliniemi had a surprise Thursday afternoon when he was presented a Quilt of Valor for his service in Korea.

He and his wife, Madeline, were joined by family for the presentation by Rhende Hagemeister, with the Quilts of Valor group out of Brainerd.

Jake served in Korea during 1951 and 1952. Upon receiving the quilt, he was overwhelmed with emotion.

“That’s the first thing I’ve gotten, 60 years later,” he said.

He was injured in combat while in Korea and has struggled with various health problems caused by his time spent in Korea.

Jake and Madeline have much to be thankful for, though, including their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Hagemeister said the Quilt of Valor is for the sacrifices made by veterans and their families.

“This quilt is supposed to be used,” she told Jake. “It’s not for sitting on a table.”

Blue Star mom Catherine Roberts began the Quilts of Valor Foundation from her sewing room in Seaford, Del. Her son Nathanael’s year-long deployment to Iraq provided the initial inspiration, and her desire to see that returning warriors were welcomed home with the love and gratitude they deserved, provided the rest.

She hit upon the idea that linking quilt-toppers with machine quilters in a national effort could achieve her goal of coverall all returning service men and women touched by war. These wartime quilts, called Quilts of Valor would be a tangible reminder of an American’s appreciation and gratitude. Since 2003, the Quilts of Valor Foundation has become a national grassroots community service effort, connecting the home-front with wounded combat warriors and veterans.

Quilts of Valor are stitched with love, prayers and healing thoughts.

A Quilt of Valor is a generous lap-sized quilt. After it has been bound, washed, labeled and wrapped in a presentation case, it is ready to be awarded.

For more information on the Quilts of Valor Foundation, go to

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561