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We had quite an event at Prairie Living that we would like to share.

Murphysboro Mayor Will Stevens is a regular visitor in our community who often talks with Prairie Living resident Ben Griffin. During one of these conversations, Will discovered that Ben was a veteran, Murphysboro native and quite a gentleman. The two talked at length, and a few days later, we saw that Will have had posted a picture of himself and Ben on Facebook. Soon after, we received a call from the Murphysboro VFW. They were working with a group of students from Murphysboro School to put together a recognition ceremony for Ben. The students were making him a Quilt of Valor and wanted to present it to him at our community. The quilt would have a specific patch on it that had to be registered to be considered an authentic Quilt of Valor.

So, the plans were made. We didn’t tell Ben because we wanted to surprise him.

The residents gathered in the dining room. Refreshments were set out in anticipation of our celebration. Three members of the Murphysboro VFW, and students and teachers from Murphysboro School anxiously awaited Ben’s arrival.

Ben, who is generally a quiet and very private gentleman, walked into a crowd of visitors who arrived to celebrate him. You can’t imagine the look of shock and awe on his face. We explained to him what all of the excitement was all about, and his smile lit up the room. He was so honored by what these people had done for him that a small tear rolled down his cheek.

It was at that time that Terri Pasquino, our administrator, talked about why everyone had gathered together in Ben’s honor and thanked all of the veterans in the room for the freedom they have provided for us.

The Quilt of Valor that Ben received was beautiful, and the celebration in his honor was a wonderful gesture. The students took hours of their time to make this quilt for a veteran they had never even met. Hats off to these kids and their teachers!

Following the presentation, one of the teachers asked if the students could walk around the room and talk to some of our residents. These students are a shining example of what our future in America should look like and that is exactly why we were so very proud of them. They are setting an example for others to follow.

Ben was very gracious and thankful, saying “No one has ever done anything like this for me before. I will never forget this day.”

Our team at Prairie Living would like to thank the Murphysboro VFW, and the students and teachers at Murphysboro School for taking the time out to thank one of our heroes!