- Associated Press - Friday, December 16, 2016

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) - At 93, Virginia Reid Chapman can’t remember everything she’s done in her life.

But others know that she’s accomplished plenty. That’s why Chapman, a longtime widow and resident of Rockville Nursing and Rehab for the past month, became only the fourth female World War II veteran in the country to receive a multi-colored quilt from the Quilts of Honor non-profit organization Dec. 9.

The presentation, made by Disabled American Veterans Chapter 9 legislative chairperson Judy Brown, took place in Chapman’s room at the facility with 10 other people in attendance. Included was Chapman’s only surviving child, Carol Trench of Bloomingdale.

“We like to recognize our veterans,” Brown said leading up to the presentation. “We thought that today, I could bring some friends and we could honor you.”

“I didn’t do anything special,” Chapman modestly replied from her comfy chair.

A Newport native who eventually signed the quilt, Chapman administered anesthetics at Ashford General Hospital in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, while serving in the U.S. Army in 1942 and part of 1943. The unique facility had formerly been the Greenbrier Hotel.

Brown, a Hillsdale resident and an Army combat veteran who served in Iraq, said the process for scheduling Friday’s surprise presentation began about two months ago. She coaxed Chapman into reflecting about Army life in the 1940s before they answered questions from the Tribune-Star.

“I didn’t go overseas,” Chapman recalled. “That’s what I wanted to do, but I didn’t get to. … We had German prisoners that worked in surgery. They worked, taking care of patients and helping us up in surgery. They could understand a few (American) words, just like we could understand a few of theirs.”

After accepting the quilt, Chapman sounded grateful that it will help her stay warm this winter. She also received a plate of cookies.

“I’m very surprised and very happy with (the quilt),” she said. “It’s very nice.”

Chapman describes her memory as “gone,” but she hasn’t forgotten that Franklin D. Roosevelt was U.S. president at the time of the war. She also mentioned that her primary post-war job was giving anesthetics at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie.

Trench said Chapman broke her hip a couple years ago, but her mother’s health has been doing better lately.

“I’m very proud of her,” Trench said as her eyes teared up. “I’m very proud. I get very choked up when she starts talking about things like that. … When someone comes and acknowledges it, it’s very humbling. It’s very special.”

Mandi Kirby, activity director for Rockville Nursing and Rehab, has spent time getting to know Chapman since the WW II veteran became a resident.

“Virginia is a very pleasant woman, very social,” Kirby said. “She participates in all activities. She’s very interactive with everyone.

“A wonderful lady.”

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Source: (Terre Haute) Tribune-Star, https://bit.ly/2hq01OP

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Information from: Tribune-Star, https://www.tribstar.com

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