World War II era veterans Harold Lundin, Sheldon Mandel and Chape McCabe sat inside The Waters on 50th senior home Nov. 8, smiling with red, white and blue Quilts of Valor draped over their legs.
The three, all in their 90s, received the quilts in a ceremony that was part of the center’s annual Veterans Day celebration.
Dozens of Waters residents, family members and staff attended the ceremony and the center’s subsequent fall ball. Mandel, 97, said he was “most appreciative” to receive the honor, adding that it was “quite a surprise.”
“I wasn’t aware of this,” he said.
The Waters on 50th, which opened in May 2014, has 19 veterans who are residents, senior living consultant Mary Carlson said. It’s had a Veterans Day celebration each of the past six years, but this was the first year in which residents received quilts.
Quilts of Valor is a 16-year-old program that honors servicemen and women who have served in military actions, conflicts and wars. Groups of quilters around the U.S. stitch blankets for veterans, who are eligible for the honor if they have been “touched by war.”
Terri Good, of Brooklyn Park, and Patricia Larson, of Crystal, presented Mandel, Lundin and McCabe with their quilts. Good and Larson are part of the Twin City Stitchers group that meets monthly to sew quilts for the program. They said their group gives out an average of 35–40 quilts a year.
Good said the group uses red, white and blue fabrics and military prints in their works. Different quilts take different amounts of time to make, she said, and members of the group will take items home to work on.
They said it’s important for veterans to feel appreciated.
Mandel, born in 1922, attended Minneapolis North High School and matriculated to the University of Minnesota where he earned two bachelor’s degrees in 1943. He then attended the University of Minnesota’s medical school as part of the Army Specialized Training Program, which aimed to develop more university-trained officers.
After graduating medical school in March 1946, Mandel continued his training at the University of Oklahoma, Valley Forge General Hospital in Pennsylvania and the Veterans Affairs hospital in Minneapolis. He also did a tour of duty aboard a hospital ship.
When asked what stands out about his military service, Mandel said “getting out.”
He was in private practice in dermatology for 60 years after his VA residency ended in 1951.
McCabe, 96, served from December 1942–May 1946 in the South Pacific. Lundin, 95, served March 1944–April 1946 in the Pacific and received a Purple Heart for wounds he received in action.
Waters on 50th executive director Susan Tabor said the center is “very honored” to serve veterans in this stage of their lives.