World War II veteran receives “Quilt of Valor” for his thirty years of service

Lester Phillips served in World War II, Korean, and Vietnam Wars

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) —With Veteran’s Day just around the corner, students at Lonnie B. Nelson Elementary School had an opportunity to thank those who served this nation.

One of those honored was a World War II veteran who committed 30 years of his life to serving others.

Nearly eighty years ago, Lester Phillips learned about an event that would change the course of his life.

“When Pearl Harbor happened, I was in the movies, and came out, and they said ‘the Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor’ and then we were all upset, and then I said when I finished school, I was going into the military,” Phillips said.

That one decision led to a 30-year career in the military, guiding Phillips to serve in places like Germany, Korea, and Vietnam.

Flash forward to 2019, and Phillips is still inspiring people young and old, including his son, Christopher.

“Here’s this vet, 93-years-old, and still out, still walking, still talking, still doing stuff, and still makes them want to do more in their lives, I know it makes me want to do more in mine,” Christopher said.

On Friday, Phillips got a warm reminder of why his service means so much to many people: a quilt.

“A lot of veterans are forgotten, and the Quilt of Valor brings love to veterans who are still here, and to basically remember them and the love of the veteran because freedom’s not free, and to be able to thank him for his service is an honor,” said Chief Petty Officer Gregg Thompson of the United States Navy.

For Phillips, receiving the quilt and the adoration of the students at Lonnie B. Jordan Elementary School meant the world to him.

“Well I’m very happy and it’s very hard to tell you how much I appreciate it because I’m so excited, shocked, and surprised, so getting words together is kind of difficult but I really appreciate it, and I know a lot of work has gone into it and a lot of thought has gone into it. That makes me very proud,” Phillips said.

As for the quilt, Phillips says he’s going to put it in a special place with all of his medals and keepsakes from his time in the military. 

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