LINDSAY — The colonel gets his due.
Vern Schaecher, whom locals affectionately and reverently call “the Colonel,” was surprised recently outside city hall in Lindsay as Freedom Riders from Norfolk drove their motorcycles into town to honor him with a Quilt of Valor.
Schaecher, who spent the morning playing cards, was surprised by the tribute.
“I am so surprised I just can’t believe it,” he said. “It caught me by surprise so much. I was wondering why everybody showed up. It’s great. I can’t believe they honored like this.”
A lot of people were involved in the ceremony.
Wayne Albracht of Madison got the ball rolling by nominating him for the quilt.
“The Colonel just received his Bronze Star, and I thought he’d be the right person to get this quilt. I’ve known the Colonel for years and years,” he said.
Albracht contacted Les Kubes of the Freedom Riders, who got in touch with Joelle Wacker, to get the quilt made for Schaecher.
Wacker is the group leader for the Stars, Stripes and Stitches Quilt of Valor organization of Shelby.
“We received the request, and the quilt we presented today was pieced together at the top by my 14-year-old daughter, Rachel. Then Les contacted me, and we set up today for the presentation,” she said.
Wacker’s group covers this area of the state, and there are other chapters that cover the rest of the state
Kubes said Schaecher is deserving for his duty to country.
“I read an article (about Schaecher), and it impressed me. This means a lot to me. This guy, he deserves a quilt if anyone does,” he said.
Schaecher served in the U.S. Army in 1951-52, earning a Purple Heart and Bronze Star. He received the Purple Heart years ago, but it took many years before he received the Bronze Star.
The Bronze Star Medal is awarded to members of the U.S. Armed Forces for either heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement or meritorious service in a combat zone.
Schaecher earned the medal while serving in the Korean War. He helped rescue a fellow soldier and took shrapnel from a bomb that exploded near him.