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Tom McKinney receives Quilt of Valor

MADISON – The Quilt of Valor Foundation has presented a Quilt of Valor to U.S. Marine Sergeant Paul T. ‘Tom’ McKinney for service to his country.

McKinney received the quilt at a special presentation with Lynn Hale, North Alabama Quilt of Valor Coordinator, on May 3. Representatives from American Legion, Post 229 in Madison and Forever Young Senior Veterans organization attended with ceremony, along with several of McKinney’s relatives.

The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor. Volunteers donate their time and materials for the handmade quilts. A quilt is awarded to a veteran to express the message, “Thank you for your service, sacrifice and valor” in serving our nation in combat.

Nationally, the organization has awarded more than 185,875 quilts since its founding in 2003.

A native of Greensboro, N.C., McKinney completed Basic Training at Parris Island, S.C. in 1963 and Advanced Infantry Training at Camp Geiger, N.C. After Navy/Marine Aviation Ordnance School in Jacksonville, Fla, he reported to Cherry Point, N.C. with VMFA 115, a squadron of F-4B Phantom fighter/attack jet aircraft.

In 1965, McKinney deployed to Da Nang, Vietnam. He completed a second tour in 1966. He finished his enlistment time at Beaufort, N.C., Key West, Fla. and Yuma, Ariz.

McKinney earned Armed Forces Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with Two Stars, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Marine Good Conduct Medal and Rifle Marksman Badge.

Tom married longtime girlfriend, Sandra, in 1968. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business management at Guilford College in 1971.

Pursuing a career in public safety, McKinney led groups in Greensboro, McLean, Va. and at Intergraph Corporation in Madison. The McKinneys founded their own business, McKinney and Associates Inc.

They have lived in Madison for 37 years.

Tom serves as Americanism Chairperson for Post 229. Sandra is helping to establish the post’s Women’s Auxiliary.

For information about requesting a Quilt of Valor, visit qovf.org or contact Quilts of Valor Foundation, P.O. Box 191, Winterset, Iowa 50273.

Both Tom and Sandra have expressed a special love for Forever Young-Senior Veterans organization. “There’s a bond between all veterans that runs deep, regardless of the service branch or time or conflict,” Tom said.

Forever Young Senior Veterans sponsors trips for older veterans to places where they previously served and to events that honor veterans. All trips are supported by tax-deductible donations. For more information or to donate, visit foreveryoungvets.org/alabama.

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