POTEAU, Okla. – A Torrington veteran was honored in Poteau, Okla., with one of the highest civilian awards that can be given. David McKimmey received this honor on June 28th from the Quilts of Valor.
David who was stationed in Iraq kicking in doors when his tour ended and was on his way home he was requested for duty by for a security team for an officer.
David was able to keep in contact with his mother, Cherry McKimmey in Torrington from Iraq. He told his mom he would contact her the next day.
On their way to work, his mother and father heard on the radio that some service men had been killed in a bombing. With a mother intuition Cherry knew that her son was involved.
Cherry then got a call from David. He told his mother, “Mom I wanted you to know I am in the hospital I have been hurt really bad but two of my guys died.”
David’s parents wanted to go see him but he was being transported to Germany. David’s parents went home to wait for word from the military. Soon they were contacted and told their son was in Germany with two others that were hurt with him.
They were then told that he would be moved back to the states. A few days later, the military contacted and told his parents that he had landed in San Antonio, where he’s be staying for long-term treatments.
The officer David was protecting was not with them the day they hit an improvised explosive device, but he got to work to help the family to see David. They were flown by military transports to the hospital where he was being treated.
David was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor in 2013 for trying to save the lives of the men he was with. David was wounded crawling into the fire to save them. He had to be dragged out of the fire, with third degree burns on his face and hands. He ended up with a steel plate in one leg.
“This quilt thing I feel that David is worth it, anything I can do. I’m a mom. That’s what moms do.” Cherry said.
In September, on the anniversary of when David was injured in Iraq, Cherry posted a note about what happened to her son. Cherry’s friend Jane Ratliff, with whom she had graduated high school, contacted Cherry and said, “She didn’t know he had been hurt and she wanted to put in for one of the quilts for him,” Cherry said. “Jane lives in Oregon, so She helped me do the application.”
Jane told Cherry it could take a while because they only do so many because they are hand quilted. Also complicating things, Cherry was in Wyoming and David in Oklahoma.
“The whole thing was a surprise to David. He didn’t know until the presentation. Quilts of Valor rely on donations,” Cherry said.
Quilts of Valor is an international organization and is considered the highest civilian honor to be awarded to a veteran. Every quilt is handmade and all are awarded individually to one veteran at a time. While thousands have been awarded, there are so many more to do and they rely on the public to let them know who the veterans are. If you have a veteran in your life you can nominate them to receive a quilt via QOVF.org
“Thanks to David for his service and to his mother Cherry for all her work in making this happen,” said Donna McCormick from Quilts of Valor during the presentation.