In honor of the 2018 Veterans Day observance, Daughters of the American Revolution, Kuilix Chapter, awarded a Quilt of Valor to Vietnam veteran James Mathias.
The award presentation was held on Nov. 1 at the Ronan VFW in front of members of the VFW, American Legion and Daughters of the American Revolution.
Quilts of Valor Foundation is a grassroots group of quilters from all across the United States whose mission is to honor our service members and veterans who have been touched by war. The quilt is an expression of gratitude meant to thank and comfort the veteran in a three-part message: honor for their military service; serve as a “thank you” for their service; and act as an offer of comfort that they are forever in our thoughts and hearts.
James “Jim” Mathias was selected to receive the quilt from a list of nominees from around the Mission Valley area.
Mathias was born in Minneapolis, Minn., moved to the San Fernando Valley as an infant, and enlisted in the Army after graduating high school in 1969.
He went to Basic Training and Advanced Infantry Training at Ft. Ord, Calif., Jump School at Ft. Benning, Ga., and then with the help of Flying Tiger Airlines, he went to Vietnam.
During his tour, he was awarded a Bronze star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal for Valor and a Combat Infantry Badge.
IN HIS 22 years of service, Mathias served as a drill sergeant, platoon sergeant and first sergeant. While he was serving in the Army, his parents moved to Dayton, Mont., and upon retirement from the military, he moved there as well.
After living in Polson, he finally settled in Ronan in 1996, where he worked at the St. Luke Extended Care Facility.
He married Josie in 2000, and they are both retired and serve their church, Terrace Lake Community Church, however they can.
Mathias states that he loved every second of his time serving the people of this great nation.
His reaction to being selected as the Quilt of Valor recipient was an emotional one. “When I returned from Vietnam, we had no parades or honors. This recognition means so much to me, to know that my service, along with all the others, is recognized and appreciated,” he said.
Mathias’s wife, Josie, was there by his side and noted that “Jim has always been my hero!”
THE QUILT was made by local members of the Quilts of Valor Foundation and was donated to the Kuilix Chapter, DAR, to select an awardee.
DAR is a non-profit, non-partisan professional organization of chapters in all 50 states, its territories, and 13 other countries dedicated to historic preservation, education and patriotism for all women who love America and the principles of liberty and equal opportunity for all.
DAR especially is known for education support and student scholarships, American history essay contests, and awards; welcoming new citizens at new citizenship ceremonies multiple times a year throughout Montana and across the country; services to veterans and active military worldwide; and preserving cemeteries, historical records, genealogy, buildings and monuments.