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Honoring service

Couple presents Quilt of Valor to Salem resident Bob Sebo

From left, Salem residents Debbie and Steve Reed and Linda and Bob Sebo hold up the Quilt of Valor made by Steve’s sister, Linda Rhoades, and presented to Bob as a thank you for his service in the U.S. Army. The two men became acquainted by phone after Steve learned a year ago that his home on West Pershing was Bob’s boyhood home. His sister, who’s very involved in the Quilts of Valor program, from her home in Texas, learned Bob served and decided to make the quilt. (Salem News photo by Mary Ann Greier)

SALEM – The owner of a century home on West Pershing Street thanked the U.S. Army veteran born there, presenting 1st Lt. John Robert Sebo with a Quilt of Valor for his service.

Steve Reed, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Vietnam, learned about a year ago that fellow Salem resident Bob Sebo once lived in the house he called home. Reed bought the house 30 years ago and has been steadily renovating it from top to bottom.

His sister, Linda Rhoades, asked if Sebo was ever in the service and when she learned he was, she set about doing what she’s passionate about: using her skill as a quilter to honor men and women who have served their country in the military.

Reed and his wife, Debbie, dressed in patriotic colors, presented the finished Quilt of Valor this week to Sebo, who wore an Army T-shirt and was accompanied by his wife, Linda.

“I’m honored to receive this. I’m absolutely floored that something like this would happen to me for my service,” Sebo said.

This embroidered label on the Quilt of Valor presented to Salem resident Bob Sebo includes his duty stations and ranks in the U.S. Army, both active duty and Reserves. He also received a birth certificate for the quilt, detailing how it was made. (Salem News photo by Mary Ann Greier)

Rhoades, who lives in Texas, is a volunteer with the Quilts of Valor Foundation and has made many quilts over the past 10 years. Her brother said she “has lovingly donated her time, money and talent to afford military men and women the opportunity to have their service honored with a Quilt of Valor.”

The foundation’s core values include treating people with respect, promoting excellence, valuing service over self and being accountable. As a recipient of a quilt, Sebo’s name and rank will be entered into the Quilt of Valor National Registry. According to a document sent with the quilt from Rhoades, the quilt carries a three-part message, to honor the recipient’s service and willingness to lay down their life for their country, to thank the recipient for their service, sacrifice and valor and to provide healing, peace and comfort to them.

There’s even a birth certificate detailing the creation of the quilt, from the name of the pattern to the materials used and listing Rhoades as the person who completed the layout and design. Reed said she worked on it for three or four months. She had contacted Sebo by phone regarding his service information, which is detailed on an embroidered label on the lower right-hand corner of the quilt. There’s also a small pocket on the reverse side.

Sebo said he felt he did his job of making sure the citizens were safe when he served, but he was astounded when he saw his quilt, which included patches from some of his assignments.

A 1954 graduate of Salem High School, Sebo entered the U.S. Army Air Defense School at Fort Bliss, Texas in November 1958 for basic officer and missile defense training. He was assigned in June 1960 to the U.S. Army Surface to Air Missile Base (Nike Ajax) at the Naval Air Station in Grosse Ile, Michigan where he commanded the control section and launch section. He also served as Executive Officer at Group Headquarters of the U.S. Army Nike Air Command at Selfridge Air Force Base in Mt. Clemens, Mich.

After his discharge in November 1960, he spent four years in the U.S. Army Reserves Training Command as Executive Officer at Fort Wayne Army Base in Trenton, Mich.

In 2016, Sebo was installed in the U.S. Army ROTC Hall of Fame at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Reed has invited Sebo to take a tour of his old home someday to see what it looks like now. Built in 1876, the home is located near the old Pittsburgh Foundry site where Sebo’s dad worked. He had fond memories of the property where he spent part of his boyhood.

Rhoades was recently featured on a local television story in Texas because she’s working on a project to honor the late U.S. Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen, who was killed by another soldier at Fort Hood in Texas.

To learn more about Quilts of Valor, visit the website at www.qovf.org.

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