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This week’s edition!

Veterans Council receives Spirit of America Award

Out and About

By Rachel Morin

The LA Veterans Council received the Spirit of America Award designated by the City of Lewiston and presented by Lewiston Mayor Mark Cayer to Jerry DeWitt, Chairman of the LA Veterans Council in early October.

The Award was recognized by Maine Senator Susan Collins in a congratulatory letter to the LA Veterans Council.

The Spirit of America Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity established in Augusta in 1990 to honor volunteerism in America. The award is presented in the name of Maine municipalities.

Alma Jones received the first Spirit of America Award from Augusta Mayor William Burney in November of 1991. The tribute has been presented in over 500 ceremonies since.

 Donna Brookings of Gorham, center, the Maine State Quilt of Valor Coordinator, presents the Quilt of Valor to Jerry DeWitt, left, and Clifford Plourde. (Charlie Paul Photo)

The LA Veterans Council does volunteer work for Veterans and their families, but is probably best known for its volunteer work establishing the beautiful Veterans Memorial Park on the banks of the Androscoggin River in Lewiston. Memorial Stones bearing the names of Veterans in the many branches of service and years of service are lined up in rows. Memorial benches also have engraved names of Veterans who served our country.

The recent arrival of the A7D plane from an airfield in Helena, Montana is now on raised pedestals in the Veterans Memorial Park for visitors to admire. It was over two years in the arrangement for its loan and the trip across country according to Jerry DeWitt who was heavily involved in the transfer, along with other volunteers of the LA Veterans Council.

DeWitt of New Gloucester has received awards himself for his work with youth in civil aviation, among them two Civil Air Patrol plaques, listing the Brewer Award, Senior Member, and the other as Legislative Member of the Year. Both plaques list him as Lt. Col. Jerry DeWitt and dated in 2018.

DeWitt also received the prestigious Quilt of Valor on November 12 at the U.S. Marine Birthday Banquet held at Davinci’s Restaurant in Lewiston. The Marines were also observing their 250th Birthday!

A Quilt of Valor (QOV) is a quality, handmade quilt that is machine or hand quilted. It is awarded to a Service Member or Veteran who has been touched by war. The quilt says unequivocally, “Thank you for your service and sacrifice in serving our nation.”

To use the term Quilt of Valor, Quilts of Valor or QOV, the quilt must be a specific size, must have a label with required information, it must be awarded (it is not a gift) and it must be recorded.

History of QOV—those comforted as of October 31, 2020:

Last Month, 3,746; Year to Date; 18,320; Lifetime Total, 260,805

DeWitt has served in the U.S. Army all around the world and now works at Tri-County Mental Health Services. He has a soft spot for Veterans, especially homeless veterans, and works with them to find housing. He is dedicated to his role at LA Veterans Council and works hand in hand with its volunteers to aid veterans.

A Vietnam-era A-7D Corsair II airplane rests on raised pedestals in Veterans Memorial Park in Lewiston for visitors to admire. Arriving from an airfield in Helena, Montana, it is on loan as arranged by Chairman Jerry DeWitt and the LA Veterans Council. (Jerry DeWitt Photo)

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