Jack and Sally Nason pose in their home in Scarborough Drew Johnson / The Forecaster

From his service as a U.S. Marines corporal in the Vietnam War to a paralyzing stroke in 2017, longtime Scarborough resident Jack Nason has always overcome adversity with positivity.

“What’s the sense of being low and down,” Nason said. “Things happen for a reason, it is what it is. There’s nothing I can do about it, so you go with the flow, you know?”

It was that attitude, which Nason shares with his wife, Sally, that drew the attention of Kathy Lavigne of Gorham, the caregiver support coordinator for Vet2Vet Maine. Lavigne nominated Nason to receive a Quilt of Valor, a civilian award for those who have served in the military.

“Because he’s in a wheelchair, everything is quite a challenge,” Lavigne said. “But they’re very upbeat; they just do whatever the need to do … I enjoy their attitude.”

From left, Richard Robichaud, Sally Nason, Jack Nason, Donna Brookings and Kathy Lavigne at the Quilt of Valor presentation last month. Contributed / Vet2Vet Maine

When Nason was greeted by friends, family and a cake with his name on it at the Thornton Heights United Methodist Church in South Portland one Sunday last month, he wasn’t quite sure what was going on. Then he was presented with the quilt, which has a red, white and blue pattern on one side and a flurry of stars and the U.S. Marine Corps emblem on the other.

“All of them are different,” Donna Brookings, Quilt of Valor’s Maine state coordinator, said of the quilts. “We specialize them to each award.”


The nationwide Quilts of Valor organization says its mission is “to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.”

“It’s a great honor,” Nason said in an interview with The Forecaster at his Scarborough home. “I was really surprised.”

“He had tears in his eyes,” added his wife.

In 2017, just two months after the couple took a trip to Ireland, Nason suffered a stroke that left him immobile. Since then, they have continued to pursue their love of travel and have visited Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota, and Colorado.

“He’s been amazing in that wheelchair,” his wife said. “It’s unbelievable how he has accepted this.”

Shortly after his stroke, Nason began working with Vet2Vet Maine, an organization that connects veterans for support. He was assigned two “peer companions,” who visit or call him at least twice a month. They talk about current events and their time in Vietnam, among other things, Nason said.


“I go and meet him every couple weeks,” said Jim Inglis, a Vietnam veteran from Scarborough. “He’s a longtime resident of Scarborough, so we talk about Scarborough and talk about football and all sorts of things.”

Westbrook resident and Vietnam veteran Richard Robichaud is Nason’s other peer companion.

“If you ever met him, you’d automatically like him,” he said. “He’s so bubbly, he’s a super guy.”

Both peer companions were delighted to see Nason being honored with a Quilt of Valor.

“It’s recognition of his service to the country,” Inglis said. “Back at the time of the Vietnam War, we servicemen weren’t always so popular … He did his duty, and that’s something to be respected and honored.”

Lavigne agrees.


“They’re very patriotic,” she said of the Nasons. “They’re proud of being a Marine family and they wear their hearts on their sleeve. We were very proud of the quilt that was made for them. It’s very striking.”

Quilts of Valor is currently seeking people willing to make and donate quilts. To learn more about how you can get involved, visit qovf.org/make-a-qov.

To learn more about V2V Maine, including how to become a peer companion, visit vet2vetmaine.org.

The organization currently serves 81 veterans and has 70 peer companions, with plans to expand their operation to central and northern Maine in the near future, according to Executive Director Susan Gold.

“I talk with a lot of veterans,” Gold said. “A lot of times veterans don’t want to ask for help, other than from another vet.”

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