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Wooten receives Quilt of Valor for WWII service

MADISON – Private 1st Class Major Wooten received a “Quilt of Valor” from the Quilts of Valor organization. Wooten, who is 101 years old, served during World War II.

Wooten accepted his quilt at a ceremony at Mount Zion Baptist Church, 228 Mount Zion Road in Madison on March 7. Lynn Hale, North Alabama coordinator for Quilts of Valor, officiated during the presentation.

The audience included World War II veterans, members of Forever Young Senior Veterans, military personnel from other eras and members of Madison American Legion, Post 229. Wooten’s friends and relatives listened to his inspiring and humorous stories.

Lisa Vannoy and retired Lt. Col. Larry Vannoy, quilter Libby Singletary and Elizabeth S. Wild helped in arranging the presentation. Sue Biggard, the foundation’s North Alabama Associate Coordinator, read Wooten’s biography. Lynn Hales of Arab also assisted.

Holly McDonald, Wooten’s granddaughter, said the quilts “are created to ‘cover’ our vets with love and valor and comfort them for all that they have endured for our country.”

Major Wooten (‘Major’ is real first name) was born in 1916 in Winston County. In June 1943 during World War II, Wooten was drafted into the U.S. Army and stationed in France.

Major and his three brothers served in the war — all at the same time. His brother Felton was a Staff Sergeant in Germany. Earl Wooten fought in the Pacific. Major’s brother Jackson ‘Jack’ Wooten lost his life in Italy during World War II.

“Major recalls receiving word in France on Thanksgiving Day in 1944 of his youngest brother Jack’s death. It took over a month to get word to Major about his brother, who passed away in Italy at 19 after stepping on a landmine,” McDonald said.

Major Wooten completed Basic Training in New Orleans and finished Technical Training in Ohio. He served as a railroad car carpenter stationed in Paris, France.

In 1942, Major and his wife Jewel Cox Wooten moved to Birmingham for his new job at U.S. Steel, where he retired after 40 years. Jewel worked as an elementary teacher. They had two sons and were married 75 years when she passed away in 2016.

“Major is an active member of American Legion and Forever Young organization. He visited the National WWII Museum in New Orleans in December 2017 with his Forever Young comrades and is excited about taking a trip this May with the same group to Hawaii to visit Pearl Harbor,” McDonald said.

“Forever Young organization raises money to take elderly vets to important war landmarks. If you’re interested in helping support a vet, like Major, on life-changing trips like Pearl Harbor, visit foreveryoungvets.org,” McDonald said.

Quilts of Valor Foundation strives to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor. Volunteers make each quilt by hand and donate their time and materials.

Each quilt “is awarded to a veteran to express the message, ‘Thank you for your service, sacrifice and valor’ in serving our nation in combat,” Hales said. For more information, visit qovf.org.

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