Flag raising includes Quilt of Valor presentation

Patrick Hammes being presented a Quilt of Valor from Bonnie Barnhart and Sandy Smithart

With the bricks in place, Melanie Vermillion and Margie Thomas led in a celebration of the flag raising ceremony at the Keokuk County Freedom Rock on November 12. With Dan Behrens providing a flag that had been flown in honor of both his brother, Tom Behrens who was killed in Vietnam and father, Ken Behrens. The flag flew over the Capitol in Washington D.C over Memorial Day and then was returned to Behrens.

             The service began with Patrick J. Hammes, who served in Vietnam, being presented a Quilt of Valor by representatives Bonnie Barnhart and Sandy Smithart. Hammes joined the United States Army on July 22, 1970 and served in Vietnam from 1971 to 1972. He was in the 1st Calvary 9th division and the 502nd unit of the 101st airborne. He received a bronze star and a combat infantry badge. He received an honorable discharge and returned home on January 23, 1972 and returned home to his family and friends. Hammes was nominated by his daughter Brandy for this honor and presented the quilt by Brandy as well as son Brett..

            The service concluded with the history of the Freedom Rock project and the singing of God Bless America, which was led by Gary Van Patten and the service concluded with the Pledge of Allegiance. The Keokuk County Freedom Rock will have a formal dedication ceremony in late spring or early summer of 2017.