John McCabe is surrounded by family after being draped in a Quilt of Valor. Picutred behind him are (from the left): David Crabtree, Jane Drake, Cindy McCabe, Beth Crabtree, Judy Dinneen and Richard Crabtree.
A Quilt of Valor was presented to former Exeter resident John McCabe at St. Stephens Parish Hall over Memorial Day weekend.
Pat Becker, a member of the Quilt of Valor program, presented the quilt to McCabe and he was draped in the quilt by his daughter Beth Crabtree and grandson David Crabtree.
The quilt was pieced and bound by Becker and quilted by Carol (Votipka) Harris.
Becker explained that the program was started in 2003 when QOV founder Catherine 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 veterans.
Roberts created a non-profit foundation to guide the project. Since 2003 over 345,645 quilts have been awarded to those who have served.
It was Roberts’ dream that the quilts would be recognized as a “civilian purple heart.”
Becker added in presenting the quilt, “As a grateful nation to thank you for your time in military service. . .and for putting your life on hold for serving your country.”
McCabe entered Air Force officer training after graduating from UNL. He attended training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. In 1962 he graduated as a second lieutenant with a weapons control career field and duty assignment at Hancock Field in Syracuse, New York.
He then spent several months training at Biloxi, Miss before returning to Syracuse. After two years at Syracuse and work as a part of NORAD, McCabe was reassigned to New Ulm West Germany. He was a part of the Detachment 2 of the 601st Tactical Control Squadron in Eurpoe
Not only did his location change but also the operation was somewhat altered. In the US McCabe had been focused on protected American soil against aerial attack but in Europe he trained to maintain a tactical air superior force. Using radar and a simple non-computerized control room his unit conducted annual field tests to maintain their skills.
McCabe had met the love of his life, Cindy, in Syracuse and so before leaving the service they married and spent three additional years in Europe while welcoming a daughter to their family.
McCabe now resides in Muncie, Ind.