Local veteran receives Quilt of Valor

Dennis Drake, from left, stands with wife, Janie, after Arliss Barber, a member of the Village Quilters, presents him a Quilt of Valor.

Since its early founding, Dennis Drake has been instrumental in letting area residents know that Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12135 is in the community helping local veterans in need.

Now Dennis and his wife, Janie, are moving to Missouri.

As a tribute for service to his country and community, Dennis was awarded a Quilt of Valor by members of the Village Quilters, which has given more than 850 quilts to war veterans in Loudon, Monroe and Blount counties.

In November 1967, Dennis Leroy Drake traveled to Omaha, Neb., near his home in Atlantic, Iowa. There he enlisted in the United States Army for a three-year commitment. After basic and further training as a radio message router, Dennis had orders for Vietnam and served 1 1/2 years with the U.S. Army Signal Corps.

Dennis advanced to E-5 buck sergeant. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Expeditionary Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. His unit also received a Meritorious Unit Citation Award.

Prior to his service, Drake worked several months for the Apollo Moon project in Tulsa. After his service, Dennis worked 10 years at a construction company and eventually moved to Michigan, where he worked 17 years with the Ford Motor Company near Detroit. Upon retirement just a few years ago, the Drakes moved to Tellico Village. They are now moving to Missouri to be closer to family.

Post 12135 will especially miss the many contributions Dennis made in helping get the new post off the ground and running. As public information officer, Dennis created news articles, posters, flyers and announcements and greatly raised public awareness of our post and the needs of area veterans.

He also instituted the successful monthly “Breakfast 4 Buds” social event open to all veterans and was a key player in organizing the Loudon County Veterans Resource and Job Fair.

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Michael Timmer is public information officer for Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12135.