Charles Maupin, a World War II veteran who survived the D-Day invasion of Normandy, thought he was invited to the dining room at Covenant Woods to videotape a Valentine’s Day program but instead was presented a Quilt of Valor from Warrior Outreach.
“It’s just a great honor,” the 98-year-old Maupin said. “I appreciate it so much.”
Maupin was presented the quilt by Samuel Rhodes, a retired Army command sergeant major and founder of the Warrior Outreach Inc., and Mary Beth Patrone, a quilter with the Quilt of Valor Foundation, as more than 50 residents watched the honor at 5424 Woodruff Farm Road.
Patrone said Maupin’s name was given to the group after it joined the efforts of Warrior Outreach. The group has presented more than 100,000 quilts to veterans across the nation, she said, and the local branch, called Warrior Outreach Quilters, has presented 20 quilts to area veterans.
Rhodes said the nonprofit organization is involved in a number of projects to help veterans, including everything from feeding the homeless, providing music therapy and repairing the homes of veterans in need.
“Warrior Outreach is giving back in so many ways,” Rhodes said. “We are just looking at different ways to touch veterans. They need some more honoring while they are still living.”
Maupin said the honor was a big surprise “I was overwhelmed by it,” he said.
He was on a ship in the English Channel where he watched massive air attacks over Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. Naval gunships pounded enemy positions as part of his unit landed for the D-Day invasion of Normandy.
The largest amphibious landings in military history sent 156,000 Allied troops into battle along a heavily defended coastline to fight Adolf Hitler’s troops on the beaches of Juno, Gold, Omaha, Utah and Sword. The invasion paved the way for Allied forces to gain a foothold in Normandy during World War II to free Europe and defeat Hitler’s Germany.
Confusion on the beach delayed his 175th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division from entering until June 7. The invasion described as “The Longest Day” left 2,500 soldiers dead and 7,000 American casualties. Some soldiers never made it to the beach as many drowned in the channel.
Maupin said people should appreciate the sacrifices made for freedom. “Freedom is not free,” he said. “It’s something you have to fight for everyday.”