Some of the diners at the Dante Club’s omelet luncheon on Sunday, April 7 at the Escalon Masonic Lodge got more than they bargained for, going home with special quilts. Dante Club President, Claudia Albertoni and Quilt of Honor Director, Gail Belmont collaborated to have the omelet luncheon and quilt presentation to honor local veterans.
Albertoni and Belmont were a dynamic duo that hosted the event together and showed appreciation for the veterans and the sacrifice that they made for our country. Though the festivities were hosted in Escalon, the two said they want to make sure all area veterans know about the program and would like to extend the quilts to those that may be eligible for them. Donations to the Dante Club to help continue the quilt project are also welcome.
The event began with the ‘make-your-own’ omelet luncheon with all the fixings. During the meal the guests were entertained by Bob Fopiano, who has been playing the accordion since he was 15. Fopiano brought a second accordion and Lee Quartaroli decided to play a little as well. Merchant Marine Veteran Emanuel ‘Sket’ Franceschetti, at 91, added to the entertainment by singing for everyone. Several guests commented that they really enjoyed the entertainment.
Following the luncheon, Belmont presented the non-combat veterans, the combat veterans, and the Escalon American Legion members in attendance with Quilts of Honor. Albertoni called their names as the quilt was to be presented, giving a little background on each veteran.
Belmont served her country in the Army during the Vietnam era and was known for being a bugler.
“I call it a labor of love,” said Belmont. “This is a way to say ‘thank you’ and a way to give back.”
The veterans that qualify to receive a Quilt of Honor must be Purple Heart recipients, those suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, dealing with the effects of Agent Orange, and those with multiple tours.
The quilt is handmade and is a tribute that recognizes their service, dedication, and sacrifices made for this country.
As Belmont gave each veteran a quilt, she made sure to shake their hand and thank them personally for their contributions of service and sacrifice.
The event ended with the American Legion Post 263 in Escalon giving a flag-folding ceremony. There are 12 folds to the flag and each fold of the flag symbolizes something specific, the Legion members told the assembled crowd.