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Soldier honors quiltmakers at church with flag flown in Iraq

Master Sergeant Ron E. Wilson, right, presents RoJean Cummins, head of the Threads of Love Quilters at Hubbard United Methodist Church, with a certificate and flag flown at Sather Air Force Base in Iraq. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Master Sergeant Ron E. Wilson was so touched by a quilt he received nearly two years ago that he presented an American flag that was flown in Iraq to local quilters.

Wilson attended Hubbard United Methodist Church Sunday, Dec. 27 to thank the Threads of Love Quilters for the quilt.

"We get a lot of gifts but nothing like that quilt," he said. "It was special."

The quilt has Psalm 46 printed on the label.

The flag that was presented to the quilters was flown at Sather Air Force Base at Baghdad International Airport Oct. 5, 2008.

"It will be our honor to fly this flag here" at Hubbard United Methodist Church, said Rev. Gary Walpole.

When Wilson left Iraq, he gave his quilt to another soldier to comfort him in his remaining stay in combat. The quilt has been passed along another three times, staying in Iraq to comfort soldiers overseas. Wilson hopes it will continue to be passed along.

Wilson's visit to Hubbard UMC coincided with his visit to mother Mae Benjamin over the Christmas holiday. Benjamin is a Blue Star Mother. He and his wife, Michelle, braved the weather to make it home for the holidays.

Wilson is stationed at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. He has 23 years of service in the military.

Wilson was awarded the Bronze Star Medal in a ceremony on Oct. 30, 2009 for his extraordinary service to the United States military service. His leadership was critical in destroying insurgent Improvised Explosive Device (IED) inventories, 40,000 pounds of unknown bulk explosives, thousands of IED components, and 11,000 ordnance items.

His team also contributed to safe flight resolutions of over 500 emergency responses. He also led his team on 100 combat missions and with his keen observations during one such mission prevented his team from certain death. He also went with a forensic team last August and brought home two prisoners of war and will go again this year.

He has served four combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Two years ago, the Threads of Love Quilters began making quilts for the military men and women and gave them through the Blue star Mothers of Park Rapids.

Deb Korsgarden is a member of both groups. She said they sent them off to their children fighting in Iraq and surrounding war zones for our freedom.

RoJean Cummins, who heads up Threads of Love Quilters said nearly 20 quilts have been sent to soldiers and about another dozen to families of soldiers.

"We were on a mission team and thought this would be a great opportunity," Cummins said of making quilts for soldiers and their families.

Threads of Love Quilters meets each Tuesday at Hubbard UMC.