Sacramento, CA – Calaveras Staff Sergeant Gail Belmont of Valley Springs was picked by Mother Lode Senator Tom Berryhill as his 2014 “Veteran of the Year”.
At the seventh annual Veterans Recognition Luncheon in Sacramento this week, Belmont was given a Senate Resolution honoring her service, which began at age 18. Her first assignment was to play Taps at the funeral of fallen soldiers during the Vietnam War. She reached the rank of Staff Sergeant and received the National Defense and Good Conduct medals before retiring from military service.
Belmont founded Quilts of Honor in 2010, a nonprofit, volunteer organization that makes and gives handmade patriotic quilts to honor service personnel and veterans suffering from combat related injuries and wounds.
“I chose Gail because of her heartfelt concern for the military personnel that have been wounded or are suffering from combat-related issues,” said Berryhill. “Her quilts, and those her volunteers have created, are a wonderful personal thank you to the men and women that have given so much for our country. I thought it was time someone pay it forward and say thank you to her.”
The quilts program has grown with chapters across the county. Three hundred volunteer quilters from Amador, Tuolumne, Oakdale and Turlock provide about 2,000 quilts a year.