Senior center honors local veteran for service

 The Weiser Activity Center for Seniors held a Veterans Day celebration Friday, specifically honoring local veteran Albert Alvarez for his service to his country.
 Alvarez, 87, was born in Burley, Idaho on July 28, 1935, and worked as a carpenter before serving in the U.S. Army as a teletypist from 1959 to 1962. He worked for city utilities following his time in the military and, incredibly, retired from the U.S. Forest Service when he was 81-years-old.
 “He took care of Mann Creek campground and would go up and take care of different campgrounds around Council,” said Alvarez’ wife, Elyssa. “We lived in Germany and Albert got discharged after two years, so we went back home. But then he received a letter telling him to get his things in order. We didn’t know what was going on or where we were going to go. Then he got another letter telling him to report to Fort Bragg (North Carolina). This was during the Cuban missile crisis.”
 Alvarez and his family spent a year at the base before returning to Idaho.
 “The funny thing is that he assumed he could bring his whole family, so we went, but they said he wasn’t supposed to do that,” Elyssa said. “But it turned out Ok because they let us stay. He was one of only a very few who got to have his family with him, even among officers. We got to be together and live off base.”
 The couple have two children, Michalene and Scott.
 Friday’s ceremony, which was a surprise to Alvarez, featured songs performed by Steve Scrivner who recited a prayer blessing all U.S. veterans.
 “On this day of honoring our veterans, we also pray for our country,” he said. “We ask that You heal and unite this Republic, founded on the truths in Your word. Let us never forget that united, we are strong but divided we fall. We pray for blessings on all our veterans who served to gain and then protect this nation, from Concord to Bunker Hill to Gettysburg … from the trenches of France to the frozen hills of Korea, the sweltering jungles of Vietnam and the burning sands of the Middle East. We ask that you heal those who carry the scars both physical and hidden, as war never leaves us as we were. Give comfort to the families of the heroes who gave all and provide strength and courage to all who are even now serving to keep our nation safe. We pray these things in the name of Christ, Amen.”
 Alvarez was saluted by fellow veterans who attended and was presented with a handmade quilt through Quilts of Honor, a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to bestow the universal token of thanks and remembrance on those who serve to protect and defend life and liberty. 
 The quilt presented to Alvarez was made by local quilters led by Judy Scott, owner of JudyAnn’s Quilting in Weiser. It was pieced by Jan Owens, Rhonda Plummer, Sue Wait, and Scott who did the quilting. It took several days and many hands to finish the project.
 “Our mission is to cover our veterans touched by war with healing and comforting quilts,” said Senior Center Coordinator Barbara Goff. “The initial goal was to make 100,000 quilts. Our quilters have been very busy and have made 24,065 quilts just this year.”
 The organization’s quilters have made and presented 326,777 quilts since its inception in 2003, far surpassing the original goal.
 “With each stitch, there are thoughts and prayers for the veterans who have sacrificed so much to protect our freedom,” Goff said. “It’s such an honor to give this tangible expression of our heartfelt gratitude to a man who made that commitment. Thank you, Albert!”
 A second Weiser veteran, Rick Heathman, was to be honored during Friday’s celebration, but was not able to attend. His quilt presentation took place on Tuesday, Nov. 15. More information will be made available in next week’s issue.


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
FAX: (208) 549-1718

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