The San Joaquin Native American Veterans Lodge has had the opportunity to share the vision of the “Quilts of Valor” initiated by the “Women of the Oakland Indian Center”. It is their endeavor to make the quilts to honor our veterans whom have served this great nation in the past and presently and those whom recieved lifelong disabilities while in service of their country. Their quilts serve as a comfort and a rememberence to the veterans whom have proudly served this great nation. We as the indigenous Veterans of the Lodge have received and presented these quilts to veterans, some whom are recognized as Elders in the Native American community. We have taken time at Pow Wows and at veterans events this year to present these quilts and accompanying this story are just a few pictures of the veterans that we have so honored. Veterans like Bobby Grito, an Elder of the Navajo Nation, Mike Trujillo, a member of our Veterans Lodge, and Elder Robert “Bob” Auger of the Cree Nation, Wabesca, Alberta Canada.
Ms. Billie Springs has led this effort and has been our point of contact in receiving the quilts and it was she whom organized the quilts-making for our veterans from the Oakland Indian Center in Oakland, CA. She also, along with the many women from the Oakland Indian Center, has taken the time to create each quilt, personalizing it to the recipient for whom it is intended. They have gone to the Palo Alto Veterans Center, located in Palo Alto, CA and the Livermore Veterans Hospital in Livermore, CA, presenting them to our honored and distinguished veterans. We want to thank Ms. Billie Springs and all of the women of the Oakland Indian Center for these precious gifted offerings. Our Veterans are proud to have a quilt gifted to them by these women and are grateful for being honored for the time they spent in the service of their country. As commander of the San Joaquin Native American Veterans Lodge, we lodge members want to say again thanks to those whom have given from their hearts, this gifted offering has meant more than can be expressed here in mere words to the veterans whom have been blessed with recieving a quilt. It is such an honor that we, as the spirit warriors, have also gifted in return to Ms.Billie Springs and the Women of the Oakland Indian Center, the “Native Americans Killed In Action” (NAKIA) flag to them to represent the heartfelt sorrow and sense of loss we all feel in honoring those whom have given the last full measure and made the ultimate sacrifice, laying down their lives in defense of the citizens of this great nation.
Mr. Richard Hall (whom is represented in the accompanying picture file to this story) has commanded his own honor guard in Oakdale, CA, for many years and has now decided to pass along the torch, represented in the ceremonial bugle of revelry. As Commander of the Native American Color Guard of the San Joaquin Native American Veterans Lodge, we accepted the bugle, in part, to continue to serve as the last post, “The call of duty”, of veterans in their passing. The bugler continues to stand in honor to sound the following; the commendation after the body of a solider has been laid to rest thus called “Reveille”, serving military personnel in service to his or her country. Mr. Hall, a Viet Nam Veteran himself, also has his own story. His dog tags were lost during the Viet Nam war, found 43 years later and then given back to him. History in itself, his story can be found in the Oakdale Reader, “Pieces of History” article, dated August 18, 2004. Mr. Richard Hall is a man of much distinction and honor and has served with great distinction alongside his brother and sister veterans alike. He told me that he felt a kinship that we as an honor color guard who walked the path like him, as bretheran soldiers like him, that we were the ones to carry on as he has. I feel that we were so blessed by his gesture of giving and in the trust that he had now placed upon us, we shall continue to serve our community in honor of Mr. Richard Hall. Thank you Richard Hall and May God Bless you for your gift. “We leave no one behind”, “Warfighters serving Warfighters of today”.
Commander of the San Joaquin Native American Veterans Lodge
Richard Windfeathers Muniz USN CVA 61 US S Ranger
(Co-authored by the California Valley Miwok Tribe)