The Casco Bay Quilters, a Scarborough-based group, awarded a Quilt of Valor to World War II veteran Paul Marks on Oct. 24 at the Maine Veterans Home. The quilters thanked Marks for his service, presentSee ing the quilt as a symbol of comfort and love. Catherine Bart/Scarborough Leader

SCARBOROUGH — A local quilting group awarded a quilt to a World War II veteran last week. The quilt was an award and meant to provide comfort for a man who served and sacrificed for his country.

The Casco Bay Quilters presented the quilt to 96-year-old World War II veteran Paul Marks on Oct. 24 at the Maine Veterans Home in Scarborough.

The quilt is awarded on behalf of the Quilts of Valor, a national campaign that acknowledges veterans across the country with quilts of comfort, as a thank-you for their service.

Marks served in the U.S. Navy from 1942 until 1945, said quilter Marcia Lord. He has been living at the Maine Veterans Home in Scarborough for the past year.

Ellen Lyon, another quilter, said that she learned about Marks from an article about him in the newspaper last year.

“I was very interested to meet him,” she said. “My daughter takes part in a music program that goes to the veterans’ home, and they sing along to the residents. I go along with her because she has two toddlers, so that’s how I got to meet Mr. Marks. He’s very amazing and I enjoy talking to him.”

Paul Marks, a 96-year-old World War II veteran, was awarded a Quilt of Valor. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1942 until 1945, volunteering after the Pearl Harbor Attack. Catherine Bart/Scarborough Leader

Before awarding the quilt to Marks, Lord read a brief passage about his life and his service.

“He was trained as a Navy signal man, learning Morse code,” she said. “He was assigned to a submarine chaser ship. Paul married his fiancé in Miami before departing for sea duty. After the war, he began a career as a printer for the Pittsburgh Press.

“After the loss of his wife of over 50 years, Paul moved to North Carolina,” Lord continued. “After some medical setbacks, he moved to a nursing home in Wilmington, which was hit hard by a hurricane in 2018. His family rescued him from that facility, and he was moved to the Maine Veterans Home.”

The Casco Bay Quilters began working on their quilt for Marks in October of 2018. This is their first Quilt of Valor, but Lyon said that they hope to award more.

“The Quilt of Valor Foundation is a national organization founded in 2003 by a mother of a soldier deployed to Iraq,” said Lord. “One night she had a vivid dream of a young man sitting on the side of his bed, wrapped in a quilt. The quilt was a quilt of comfort. From this vision, the Quilts of Valor Nation began.”

The quilts are meant to be awards, not charitable gifts, for the recipient’s sacrifice and service, said the foundation’s website.

“As of today, the total number of quilts that have been awarded to veterans is 231,791, and that total includes this quilt that we would like to wrap around you,” said Lord.

After Lord finished the group’s remarks, the quilters wrapped Marks in his new quilt.

“Our quilters know that freedom is not free,” said Lord. “This quilt is meant to say thank you for your sacrifice. This quilt is meant to comfort you and to remind you that although your family and friends cannot be with you at all times, you are forever in all of our thoughts and hearts.”

Marks thanked the Casco Bay Quilters, and they had a celebration together.

Catherine Bart can be reached at [email protected] or 780-9029.

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