Richard Nicholas is wrapped in his quilt of valor by his
children pictured from the left: Shari Michl, Hope Strate, Nicholas and Tim
Terry Salyer was wrapped in his quilt of valor by his
grandsons pictured from the left: Jayson Salyer, Salyer, Daylon Salyer and
Vietnam veterans were honored with a Quilt of Valor during a ceremony held
Sunday, November 17 at the Exeter American Legion Home. Terry Salyer and
Richard Nicholas each received Quilts of Valor at the program.
Legion Auxiliary President Marsha Jorgensen opened the program with a welcome
and leading of the Pledge of Allegiance.
introduced Phyllis Schoenholz, the South Central Nebraska Coordinator for the
gave a brief history of the foundation and its founder, Catherine Roberts.
program was started in 2003 when Roberts’ son was deployed in Iraq. A
dream gave her the idea that quilts from home would be comforting to those
serving and so she began to make them to award to active military along with
created a non-profit foundation to guide the project. Since 2003 over
237,000 quilts have been awarded to those who have served.
was Roberts’ dream that the quilts would be recognized as a “civilian purple
added in presenting the quilts, “As a grateful nation to thank you for your
time in military service. . .and for putting your life on hold for serving your
was wrapped in the quilt by his children, Shari Michl, Tim Nicholas, and Hope
Strate. Salyer was wrapped in the quilt by his grandsons Jason Salyer,
Daylon Salyer and Jared Nunnenkamp.
quit given to Nicholas was made by Carol Kuska Leipzig from Salem, Wisc. And
the quilt given to Salyer was made by Pat Becker, a member of the Exeter
Auxiliary QOV committee.
gave a brief history of each of the honorees military service before the quilts
were presented. Refreshments were served after the honorees were
congratulated and saluted by veterans in attendance.
served in the Air Force from 1954-1974
He graduated from High School in
1953 in Laurel, Mont. The following January of 1954, he and four of his
classmates decided to beat the military at their game and enlist before they
The day was unforgettable as they
travelled to Butte, Mont. to take the oath and the temperature was -36
degrees. Nicholas was shipped out to San Antonio, Tex. For bootcamp and
the first mail he received was his draft notice.
From there Nicholas studied
Electronics/Computers in Denver for four months before shipping out to Lincoln
to work on B47’s. The bombers hadn’t arrived yet so he worked as a
dispatcher in between.
In the 1950’s the computers were very
large and required to men to lift them into the bombers.
It was while he was in Lincoln that a
co-worker suggested an evening at the Plamor Ballroom and it was there that he
met his future wife, Doris (and three of his fellow servicemen met and married
three of her sisters all in the same year).
During their stay in Lincoln, 30
planes were ordered to go to a NATO exercise in London. Upon their return, one
plane went down which carried half the men he worked with in Lincoln. The
remains of that plane were never found. A memorial to honor those men was
erected on the Lincoln base.
Leaving Lincoln Nicholas was sent to
Tampa, Florida to work on the F-4 fighter aircraft. Doris also came and they
established their home and started a family. Their next location was in Tuscan
AZ where they were stationed for five years.
In 1966-67, Nicholas took a tour in Viet
Nam. Following his tour, Nicholas reenlisted for four more years. At this time
he was sent to Clark Air Force base in the Philippines to test the Squadron
In 1971 found them transferred to
Hollomon Air Force base in New Mexico to continue working on F-4’s. Nicholas
was always prepared to be shipped out and while in New Mexico, he was awakened
by bells ringing and lights flashing. As he left the house he grabbed the bags
he kept packed by the door and was off to Thailand but was unable to tell
anyone where he was for the next nine months.
Rations weren’t readily available as the
pantry was stocked with canned wieners dated 1947. The crew was able to
purchase food from a Taiwanese lady who with her friends rode up with little
grills attached to the handlebars on their bike.
Eventually their commander made
arrangements for food and beverages to be delivered by the Navy.
Nicholas retired in 1974 bringing his
family to their current home in Exeter. During his service he became a
tech sergeant and was awarded the Bronze Starfor meritorious service in Viet
Nam as well as numerous other honors.
served in the Army during the Viet Nam War
drafted in 1966 and sent to Fort Benning, Georgia for eight weeks of basic
training. His AIT training was held at Fort Sam Houston in Texas and medical
training to become a medic.
While in medical
training, Terry volunteered for a special project because the sergeant said
“whoever volunteered will NOT go to Vietnam.” The Army exercised them every
day, sometimes beyond the point of exhaustion and then would draw blood to see
what the body secreted into the blood system to recover. They sold this
information to the University of Florida. They found out that the body needed
electrolytes and potassium to recover. From these results, they invented
“Gatorade.” Salyer is still waiting for his royalty check.
Army’s promises Salyer was set to Vietnam anyway. He was stationed at a
medivac hospital in Qui Nohn, Vietnam. His very first day he was working on a
soldier who was shot in the neck. Every time his heart would beat, blood would
shoot up and then run down the back of Terry’s neck. They sent the wounded
soldier to surgery and he survived. Salyer recalls thinking,“if this is
happening on the first day, what was the rest of his tour going to be like?”
To this day
Salyer carries the attitude of a soldier named Jim with him. Jim had his
leg blown off just above the knee but he always kept a positive outlook
throughout this terrible ordeal. Once he learned to use his prosthetic leg he
could do anything Salyer could do.
After his tour
of one year was completed he volunteered to stay another year. He had met an
Army Nurse who would become his wife, Elaine Polack. Together they worked
on a surgical ward treating wounded soldiers. The only problem was that she was
a first lieutenant and he was an E-5. The Army did not allow enlisted men to
fraternize with an officer. Salyer stayed on in Vietnam for six months after
Elaine’s tour was complete. In total Salyer spent two years, 3 months and
20 days in Vietnam.
The Salyers were
married in Exeter in 1969 and had three sons. When the Salyers are asked about
their experiences in Vietnam, they usually respond, “we saw the end
results of war and it was not very pretty. It was often gruesome and hard to