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‘It’s a thank you’

Fort Dodge Vietnam vet receives Quilt of Valor

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Dean Hendrickson, a Vietnam veteran from Fort Dodge, receives a handmade quilt from the Quilts of Valor Foundation during a small ceremony at The Lion’s Den on Sunday afternoon.

Fifty years after he enlisted in the U.S. Army to serve in the Vietnam War, Bancroft native Dean Hendrickson has received a special token of appreciation from the Quilts of Valor Foundation.

Hendrickson, who has called Fort Dodge home for the past 45 years, received a handmade quilt from the national nonprofit during a small reception at The Lion’s Den on Sunday afternoon.

The quilt was presented to Hendrickson by friends and fellow veterans, Melvin A. Faber and Mike Mulroney.

“It means a lot to me (to receive this quilt) because Melvin’s giving it to me and he’s like a brother to me,” Hendrickson said. “My wife has got a spot picked out for it in the family room.”

Hendrickson graduated from St. John’s Catholic School in Bancroft in 1964. After furthering his education at Minnesota State University — Mankato, he chose to enlist in the U.S. Army in 1969. Hendrickson completed basic training and advanced individual training at Fort Lewis, Washington, before deploying to Vietnam as an infantryman.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Melvin A. Faber, of Burt, and Mike Mulroney, of Fort Dodge, present a Quilt of Valor to friend and fellow veteran Dean Hendrickson, of Fort Dodge.

“We trained for jungle warfare in the snow,” Hendrickson joked.

Hendrickson spent 12 months in theater with the 23rd Infantry Division, also known as the Americal Division, serving as a radio telephone operator for his company commander.

His time in Vietnam earned Hendrickson two Bronze Stars, an Army commendation medal and the Army’s Combat Infantry Badge. Hendrickson also served in the Army Reserves from 1987-1990.

Hendrickson is one of more than 226,000 “deserving and honored veterans” from across the country to receive a Quilt of Valor since the organization was first formed in 2003. Hendrickson’s quilt was sewed by Mary Behrends, Pat Hobbs and Erma Parsons, all of the Burt area. Details on the quilt include a stitched bronze star and his unit’s combat action patch.

“It’s not an award; it’s not a trophy,” said Behrends during the presentation. “It’s a thank you for those who have been touched by war.”

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Photos and memorabilia from Dean Hendrickson’s deployment to Vietnam sit on display. Hendrickson, of Fort Dodge, received a Quilt of Valor at a ceremony at the Lion’s Den on Sunday afternoon.

“These quilts are made to offer comfort, warmth, peace and healing to the individual who receives it,” Behrends added. “For we want you to know that you are forever in our thoughts and our hearts.”

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