Bundaberg Vietnam veteran Ian List has been honoured with a Quilt of Valour at an emotional ceremony at East Bundaberg Sports Club.
Ian was presented with the Quilt of Valour by Wayne Honor, who was approached by the Quilts of Valour Coordinator.
Quilts of Valour Australia’s mission is to present quilts to service members and veterans of the ADF in recognition of their sacrifice for Australia while deployed on combat operations.
Ian was a Leading Aircraftman with the RAAF Airfield Defence Guard in Vietnam.
He was posted to No. 2 RAAF Squadron at Phan Rang on 8 October 1968 and returned home on 9 October 1969.
A great bloke through and through
Describing his friend, Ron Tait, who did initial Airfield Defence training with Ian, said he was a great bloke.
“Ian may be short in stature but he is tall around his fellow veterans,” Ron said.
“He is highly admired, always having one liners, in particular while on patrol in arduous conditions. You could always count on Ian to have a funny joke or a comment to relieve the situation.”
With tears in his eyes Ian accepted the Quilt of Valour saying it was incredible, and the friendships he had made during his time in Vietnam had lasted more than 50 years.
“You might not see each other for 50 years, but then again it was like yesterday,” Ian said.
“The time we use to get together was for funerals because so many of us had died, so tonight is very special.
“I remember it all like it was yesterday and I am so privileged to now have this quilt.”
Mr Honor said the evening was a touching occasion, one to celebrate the life and the service of a great Australian.
“This is the first time I have met Ian and straight away he gives you the feeling of a solid, steadfast person,” Mr Honor said.
“A person described by his comrades as a totally reliable solider, someone who didn't back away in the face of great odds.
“It's been a wonderful occasion to be able to present on behalf of Quilts of Valour Australia — a quilt that was made by loving hands, with feelings toward a fellow Australian who has given all to protect this country.”
In a stealth exercise, the presentation of the Quilt of Valour was kept a surprise from Ian, with a lot of organisation by his carer Suzanne Endres.
“The quilt certainly means a lot to Ian and to his family,” Suzanne said.
For those who like sewing, the Quilts of Valour Australia organisation is always on the lookout for quilters to volunteer their time, materials or skills.