A closer look at the latest Quilts of Valor in Tonganoxie
Local quilters created four quilts that earned the status of being Quilts of Valor.
The quilts were dedicated and presented during Tonganoxie USD 464’s inaugural Veterans Day Program at the Tonganoxie High School performing Arts Center.
Receiving the quilts were Jerry Jarrett and Elmer Tanking, along with the families of the late Lucas Frantz and Larry Meadows.
Here is more about the four soldiers who were recognized with the Quilts of Valor:
Jerry Jarett was a 1966 graduate of Tonganoxie High School.
After graduation, Jarrett decided to enlist in the U.S. Army because “he wanted to jump out of airplanes.”
Sgt. Jarrett quickly worked his way into some of the Army’s most distinguished units, serving stints in both the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions.
Sgt. Jarrett was awarded several of our country’s highest medals for his distinguished service while serving his country in Vietnam. One medal in particular the Silver Star was awarded for the following action:
“Sergeant Jarrett, while serving as squad leader, was in charge of an outpost when spotted four Vietnamese Army Regulars approaching his position. He immediately relayed the information to the company commander who alerted the perimeter just as the enemy opened up with small arms and mortar fire. Exposing himself to intense enemy fire, Sergeant Jarrett covered the withdrawal of the outpost, killing three North Vietnamese Regulars. When the unit returned to the perimeter, he reorganized his men and directed their fire. Sergeant Jarrett’s personal bravery and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States army.”
From the time he was little, his dream was to be a soldier, just like his Grandpa.
He loved sports, especially football. He loved spending time with his friends and family, and always had a smile on his face. He was a good man, with an even bigger heart.
Frantz began his military career shortly after turning 17, by joining the Army Reserves. He was focused and strong in life, and graduated boot camp at Fort Benning, Ga., between his junior and senior year. He graduated from Tonganoxie High School in 2002. One year after graduating he went active in the military and married his high school sweetheart, Kelly.
Frantz joined the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, in 2003. He grew close to his fellow soldiers and those soldiers quickly became brothers. When Frantz was given orders that he would be deployed to Iraq, he did not show that he was scared. He was reassuring, brave and determined to do what had to be done. He was deployed in August 2005. He proved to be strong and remained proud to be able to serve his country. Frantz believed in what they were fighting for. He was a U.S. Army vehicle commander assigned to the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. He watched over his fellow brothers when they would go out on patrols.
On Oct. 18, 2005, in Mosul, Iraq, Frantz died watching over and protecting his brothers. It also was his 22nd birthday.
Cpl. Lucas Allen Frantz died an American hero. He was proud to be a soldier. He lived his life with strength and courage, and died doing the same.
The memory of his service and dedication to his country and people he fought for will live on in our hearts forever.
Born in Seneca in Nemaha County on July 18, 1934, Elmer Tanking worked as a carpenter for Ray Droge for several years before entering the military service on Aug. 13, 1959.
Tanking served one year and four months of Foreign Service, mainly with Company D 350 Infantry Regiment in Salzburg, Austria.
During his military service, he successfully completed SKI School in 1954.
Tanking was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army on June 10, 1955, after having served one year, nine months and 28 days to his country.
Following his military service, Tanking married the love of his life, Anna Lea, on June 13, 1959. They have four children: three sons and one daughter.
During his work career, Tanking owned King Finish Company and enjoyed the hobby of Team Roping, belonging to the United States Rodeo Association for many years.
The Tonganoxie VFW Post 9271 was asked to nominate one of their own members for a “Quilt of Valor” this year and Tanking was selected by his fellow comrades, specifically for his outstanding leadership as Post 9271 VFW Commander for three years, from 2006 until 2009.
Meadows joined the Army Reserves in 1966 and was assigned ot the 842nd Quartermaster Unit in Kansas City, Kan.
He served his basic training in Fort Polk, La., and continued to train with the unit until they were called up in 1968 to prepare to deploy to Vietnam. In Vietnam, his unit was in charge of transporting fuel to different areas of the country. He served as a convoy commander for his unit.
When Meadows returned to civilian life, he and his wife, Lois, moved to Tonganoxie and founded Meadows Construction where they worked for the next 28 years. During this time, Meadows became a charter member of VFW Post 9271 and served in many capacities over the years at the local, district and state level. During this time, he was instrumental in helping build a new post home. He also helped develop VFW Park.
He was very involved in the Tonganoxie community and served on many boards throughout the years. He was always a fervent supporter of USD 464 and was on various committees for bond issues and building committees.
Meadows was always proud that his two daugthers, Lori and Leann, started in kindergarten and continued on to graduate from Tonganoxie High School, as well as his three grandchildren, Mia, Dallas and Drew Bond attending Tonganoxie schools. Mia is a recent THS graduate, while Dallas is in high school and Drew at Tonganoxie Middle School. His daughter Leann and son-in-law Matt teach in the district also.
Meadows died this past year at the age of 76. His goal in life was to leave the community a better place to live.