By Madelyn Fogarty


Retired Sergeant Terry Misener was recently awarded a Quilt of Valor from the Quilts of Valor Foundation. Representing the Illinois Valley Quilts of Valor group, Jean McNelis, along with Mary Way, made the presentation to Mr. Misener on September 10. Pictured are L-R Mary Way, Jean McNelis, Terry Misener wrapped in Quilt of Valor, and Shirley Misener.

With September 11 just behind us, we were called again last week to remember the fundamental freedoms we so fervently value and the men and women who fought, and continue to fight, to protect our country and preserve that freedom. With that in mind, it was also an appropriate time to witness the honoring of an area veteran, retired Sergeant Terry Misener. Terry Misener was just 19 years old when he was called to service. A member of the United States Army during the Vietnam War, Terry was drafted on August 20, 1967, achieving the rank of Sergeant before he was honorably discharged on July 28, 1969. He marked his 21st birthday in Vietnam. As a part of Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry, Terry served a tour of duty in Vietnam from February 1968 – February 1969. He fought at the battle of LZ Peanuts at Khe Sanh, was wounded at Khe Sanh, and was decorated for heroism following that battle, receiving the Purple Heart in the Republic of Vietnam in connection with military operations against a hostile force. He also received the Combat Infantry Badge, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and Expert Sharpshooter and Marksman medals. Last week, Misener was honored for his service over 50 years ago by being awarded a Quilt of Valor. The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor. Representing the Illinois Valley Quilts of Valor group, Jean McNelis, along with Mary Way, made the presentation to Mr. Misener on September 10. “A veteran whether active duty, discharged, retired, or reserve is someone who at one point in his or her life wrote a check to their government for an amount of up to, and including, his or her life,” read Jean McNelis as she made the pre-sentation. “This quilt is an expression of gratitude meant to thank you and comfort you,” said McNelis. “We honor you for leaving all you hold dear to serve, whether in time of crisis or in time of peace. This Quilt of Valor says thank you for your service, sacrifice and valor in serving your nation and is being presented to Terry Misener.” McNelis told Terry the idea behind the quilt is to know that someone is hugging you and saying thank you each time the quilt is put on. “This is a lovely honor,” said an emotional Misener who called the moment a humbling experience. “I will cherish this the rest of my days.” Misener, now 72, remembered the period in his young life that forever changed his world. Terry was wounded just two weeks after arriving in Vietnam, and then once more during his tour. He recalled horrific battles, soldiers wounded and lost, including his best friend that died in Vietnam just one week after Misener returned home. Misener still carries the scars today, both physical and emotional, having suffered with PTSD. “For ten years after Vietnam I was a mess – drugs and alcohol – It was a real difficult time for the men that came back,” said Misener. “When you have to face that kind of slaughter it changes your life, your mindset, and even how to adjust back to civilian life.” Returning Vietnam soldiers were not treated well at the time – something that has changed over the years. He credits his wife, Shirley, for helping him through the toughest of times and staying by his side. He also knows God was the key to making his way out. “It was a very bad situation and he told God that if He got him out, he would spend his life serving the Lord,” said Shirley. “And he has.” “I thank God that he got me out of it and turned my life around – our lives around,” Terry told The Paper. “Those first ten years were pretty rough. It was a long time ago now, but we made it. A lot of marriages would not have survived that.” After Vietnam, Misener farmed a bit before starting his plumbing and heating business that he operated for 45 years. The Miseners raised six children in the Mazon / Verona area and, now, that family has grown to include 13 grandchildren. Terry and Shirley Misener celebrated 50 years of marriage this past January. Terry Misener has come a long way from that terrible time in his young life, but that year – one year that felt like ten – will stay with him forever. And, today, he is proud of his service. “It was an honor to have served then,” Misener told The Paper. “ And, even though it was difficult after Vietnam, I look back now and am really glad that I did. It was a great loss for me in Vietnam, and it is something I have had to deal with my whole life. But, never the less, I am proud to say that I served for my country and I honor all those that have served and will continue to serve.” Terry Misener is featured in a 2018 copy of Vietnam magazine in the article Hell on a Hilltop which recounts the battle of LZ Peanuts at Khe Sanh. The article can be found and read by Googling Terry Misener LZ Peanuts. “We are able to have so much because of those that (continued on page 14) gave way more,” said Misener. Quilts of Valor Foundation began in 2003 from the sewing room of Blue Star mom Catherine Roberts whose own son served in Iraq. Roberts wanted to see that returning troops were welcomed home with love and gratitude. Organizing quilt makers in a national effort has resulted in awarding over 254,122 quilts of valor to returning service men and women as tangible reminders of appreciation and gratitude. For more information, or to donate, visit Quilts of Valor is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Madelyn Fogarty + Add to contacts