Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July to all veterans of United States wars, as well as those that served during times of peace.

Every year, at this time, we are proudly reminded of your service, sacrifice, and dedication to our Constitution, as well as the Bill of Rights.

How can we ever thank you enough for all that you were willing to lose in order to protect this magnificent country? Freedom is too precious to give up or ignore. 

Honoring all Veterans

Although Memorial Day officially passed, please know each and every veteran that endured a military battle can never be honored enough.

The impact war cannot be measured in any human terms, men and women continue to risk their lives to defend beliefs that resonate with their own moral and emotional spirit.

Those that fought to maintain the rights and responsibilities of every United States citizen provided a wealth of freedom understood by few.

Thank you, again , to every veteran involved in a military conflict.

In the Spotlight: Bill (William) Heider - United States Army - World War II

In honor of all veterans of United States' foreign wars, a Log Cabin/Barn Raiser quilt was awarded to Mrs. Bill (William) Heider and their daughter, Kim, of Omaha, Nebraska.

Mr. Heider wasn't available to receive his award, but his wife, Bernie, and daughter, Kim were delighted to see the quilt made in Bill Heider's honor.

Mr. Heider lived across the street from me during my childhood. A strong presence in the neighborhood, we could always count on Mr. Heider for farm-fresh produce, which always included ripe tomatoes, sweet corn, and fresh eggs. He made summer special. Not only did he find time to be an active gardener, as well as member of various groups and church, he also became one of the pillars of his neighbor.

He always had a smile on his face and extended a helping hand with snow following blizzards or pleasant conversations.

While I never had the pleasure of talking with Mr. Heider at great length about his experience in France, I believe he was a Marine, if not a Marine at heart.

When he shared memories of the war, it was on a day that he received basil bread freshly made at Target. He reflected on the fact that it was just like the bread so many French families ate.

Bill and his wife raised a beautiful family in the Omaha. Their children, Mark, Teresa, and Amy are grown with families and grandchildren to keep the family growing.

Mr. Heider honored the United States by not only giving time to keeping our constitutional rights and responsibilities at the forefront of history, but also by shining a bright light in the Omaha community, as well.

The man holding the quilt shared the following:

Mr. Heider proudly served the United States during the Korean War, while stationed in France. While he tried to enlist in the United States Marine Corp, at the tail end of WWII, they rejected him due to flat feet.

In 1950, at the age of 22, the Korean War started. Mr. Heider was drafted and served his country as a Corporal Parts Specialist with the Engineers' Construction Battalion for heavy equipment parts. During this time, his tour included parts of Southern Europe, including Italy and Spain.

One of Mr. Heider's fondest memories was a moment in Bremerhaven. While in his bunk, the news that General Eisenhower was elected as President tickled him pink. This was, in part, due to the fact that he was on his second week of extra duty. He'd be going home soon.

Another responsibility that fell upon Mr. Heider's service as an enlisted soldier, was cleaning up, due to the Russian threat, at the Maginot Line.

When called upon to enlist, he left Omaha with a group of men, and was stationed in California. From California, he left for France and played an important role in a one of the most disastrous wars in our history.

Jason Swain - Army

Jason Swain, was honored with a quilt on February 6, 2014, at the Northwest Omaha VFW Post 2503. He retired as Master Sergeant from the United States Army. He served our country for twenty-one years. His career began in April, 1991, and lasted through March, 2012.

While his final overseas deployment was during the Iraq War, he also completed assignments in Germany, Italy, and United Kingdom, and Macedonia. While stateside, his assignments included the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum in New York, as well as the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood in Texas and the United States Southern Command in Miami, Florida.

Jason earned numerous service awards and decorations including the following:
⦁    Bronze Star Medal 2nd award
⦁    Defense Meritorious Service Medal
⦁    Meritorious Service Medal
⦁    Army Commendation Medal 4th award
⦁    Joint Service Commendation Medal
⦁    Army Achievement Medal 6th award
⦁    Joint Service Achievement Medal 2nd award
⦁    National Defense Service Ribbon
⦁    Iraq Campaign Medal
⦁    Kosovo Campaign Medal
⦁    Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
⦁    Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
⦁    Non-commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon 3rd award
⦁    Humanitarian Service Medal

He was honored with a signature block quilt for active service during a foreign war.

The proud father of a 20 month old son, he welcomed his parents to the Omaha community this year, as well.

Photos to be added soon.

Chooty and Company

A generous thank you goes out to an Iowa-based firm, Chooty & Co., for the fabric they provided for quilts. Never has any company opened it doors to so much fabric, simply to support the efforts of honoring others.

What a pleasure it was to meet with Connie G., a Chooty & Co. team member, that also loves shopping during Hancock Fabric sales. She offered a business card and promised that a trip to Council Bluffs would be worthwhile. She wasn't kidding!

While most of the fabric will be used for utility quilts for those in need of warmth, through Heart-to-Heart Quilts, there is a portion that will find its way into patriotic quilts for veterans.

Last quilt of 2014

As a great year comes to an end, another patriotic quilt nears completion. The red, white, and blue theme continues to honor United States' Veterans. Without their dedication to our Constitution, as well as the rights and responsibilities that go along with it, our nation could never stand strong against any enemy, internal or external. Thank you!

United States Army Corporal - Denny Cernik - Korean War Veteran

Mr. Denny Cernik, shown on the left, was awarded a quilt by Dove of Peace on Thursday, March 13, at the Omaha VFW Post 2503. He served the United States during the Korean War as a Corporal in the Army.

Six weeks after marrying his bride, Mr. Cernik was drafted. Prior to service in Korea, he was stationed at  Fort Carson and Fort Lenard Wood. He arrived in Korea on July 15, 1953. Shortly thereafter, Armistice ended the war on July 27, 1953, with the official signing of the truce.

Thereafter, Mr. Cernik worked in the finance department for four months, in Korea, and the remainder of his two years of service in Japan.

Mr. Cernik was assigned to work in a joint program that combine the resources of the Army with that of the Air Force. In this instance, he was assigned to work with an engineering battalion. He was one of two men responsible for the payroll of 195 records. This included all of the ledgers and logs associated with bookkeeping.

The Good Conduct and Korean War Service Medal are amongst those that Mr. Cernik received.

His fondest memory includes all of the nice people he met while on duty.

A member of a large family, consisting of two brothers and three sisters, he is also the proud father to two daughters and a grandfather to two grandsons.

One of the ways Mr. Cernik gives back to the community is through volunteer work for the Omaha VFW Post 2503. As shown in the photo, Mr. Cernik was surprised with the quilt while he was cooking for their monthly taco night. His life also includes volunteer work at his church.

Vietnam veteran and fellow VFW member, Bob, shares the job of holding up the quilt.

The quilt, while not patriotic in color, certainly captures the spirit of the United States. It consists of blocks used during the rugged years of our growth. The "Log Cabin" blocks, bordering the quilt, represent the heart or heart of the home, while the logs surround it represent all of the attributes of a home.

The stars in the quilts center are called "Portsmouth Star." While they have numerous meanings, the most relevant belongs to the Abolitionists. Quilts were made by women that used them to provide messages to the slaves.

When four log cabin blocks are combined, as they are on the back of the quilt, it represents the community uniting to build a barn, and the blocks are then called "Barn Raisers." This Barn Raiser represents the unity of a community that comes together around the heart and warmth of the hearth.

Arnold G., World War II Army Veteran

Arnold Gerst served the United States during World War II. After helping defeat forces in Japan, he was sent to Europe to continue a combat assignment. Due to his selfless act, our freedom and rights are honored today. Arnold was honored at Omaha's VFW Post 2503 on October 3, 2013. Thank you for serving the United States with such courage, Arnold!

According to VFW Post 2503

Arnold Gerst, a Purple Heart recipient, served with the United States Army in WWII from February 7, 1943 through December 1945.  He served in combat in the Aleution Islands in 1943 and was deployed to Sicily, then Naples, Italy, served in combat in Italy and then flew gliders into southern France. Moved to southern Germany and then Salsburg, Austria when the war ended in Europe.  Arnold has been a member of Post 2503 Honor Guard since 1990 and has served as its Captain.  Arnold is an active member of Post 2503 and has actively served the Post in a wide variety of functions during his long membership in the Post.  Please congratulate Arnold for his service to our country and for his decades of service to his community.

The quilt was made by three young women that are members of Nebraska's 4-H, at the ages of 9, 10, and 11.

Please nominate a veteran!

Nominate a Veteran Today!

As the year winds down, Dove of Peace is hoping to honor at least one more veteran before the end of 2014.

If you know someone that served in any of the United States foreign wars, and continues to represent the United States through actions and/or deeds, please leave a comment on to this post, or email me at:


Please include the name of the veteran, the war they served in, as well as contact information for you or the veteran.

Thanks so much for thinking of others! 

Army Staff Sargent - Sharon Cooper

Retired Staff Sargent Sharon Cooper, a veteran from Omaha, Nebraska, was honored with a quilt on Thursday, December 5, 2013, for her dedication to the United States and a career in the military.  Honored during a meeting at the Omaha Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) Post 2503, she received a patriotic quilt signed by citizens of Nebraska.

After serving the United States as a member of the Army, from 1972 to 1996, Sharon continued to serve the Omaha community through the VFW and education. Her military service included stints in Germany, Japan, Korea, and Hawaii.

On April 30, 1975, the fall of Saigon ended the Vietnam War and prompted one of two waves of emigration from Vietnam to the United States. Sharon was committed to helping refugees resettle and served as one of one hundred women that helped with immigration and immunization. Operation New Life found her working with the refugees medical records, as well as interpreters, she made certain that the appropriate information was compiled for those choosing to reside in one of three states.

One of Sharon's most memorable experiences includes the responsibility bestowed upon her during this period. As she worked for a Lieutenant Colonel, that was swamped with communication, many of the forms requiring an official signature were assigned to Sharon. While a Staff Sargent at that time, Sharon's signature approved the communications.

As a member of Omaha's VFW Post 2503, she is the Junior Vice Commander. She also serves the Post by leading the Voice of Democracy and Patriots' Pen programs for students in Douglas and Sarpy counties.

The Voice of Democracy gives high school students a chance to share their views via a speech, that could result in a $30,000 national prize. The program is open to students in grades 9-12, who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States and its territories. The deadline for submissions for the 2014-2015 program is November 1, 2014. Download the application at the Voice of Democracy website by clicking on the link.

The theme for 2013-2014 was: “Why I'm Optimistic About our Nation’s Future,” while the new theme for 2014-2015 is: "Why Veterans are Important to our Nation's History and Future."

The Patriot's Pen program is open to students in grades 6-8, who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States and its territories.

The theme for 2013-2014 was: “Why I'm Optimistic About our Nation’s Future,” while the new theme for 2014-2015 is: "Why Veterans are Important to our Nation's History and Future."

The deadline for submissions for the 2014-2015 program is November 1, 2014. Download the application from the Patriot's Pen post by clicking on the link.

Both, the Voice of Democracy and the Patriot's Pen, are proudly sponsored by the national and local VFW Posts.
While she retired from the Army in 1995, Sharon wanted to continue to serve our nation. Therefore, she chose to work as a teacher for students at Bryan High School, in the Omaha Public School District, as an ROTC instructor.

The signature blocks are signed by people during the Lancaster County Fair, in Lincoln, Nebraska, as well as at other sites, including but not limited to, the Nebraska Humane Society, McDonald's, Hancock Fabric, the Quilted Kitty in Lincoln, and SAC Federal Credit Union. Thanks to all of those signing the blocks. What a tribute to our veterans!