SIOUX CENTER—Conard De Boom of Sioux Center and family gathered at the New Homestead community room in Sioux Center on Sunday to mark two special occasions: his 90th birthday on Monday and his receiving a Quilt of Valor.
These quilts are created through the Quilts of Valor Foundation, a nonprofit organization that seeks to give these comfort items to veterans who served overseas. The nonprofit began in 2003 when a mother of an Iraq War veteran wanted to make sure returning troops were welcomed home with love and gratitude.
“This is to give them a sense of comfort for what they sacrificed during the war,” said American Legion Auxiliary member Jean Brandes of Sioux Center. “The Quilts of Valor organization wants you to give quilts to those who served in combat if possible or overseas.”
Local members of the American Legion Auxiliary volunteer to design and craft quilts such as the one given to De Boom.
De Boom served 1953-55 in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He was a field radio mechanic in the 2nd Armored Division Company C, 12th Armored Infantry Battalion.
De Boom was drafted into the Army. After basic training, he was stationed in Worms, Germany, where he attended radio school. Following graduation, he serviced the radio equipment on many different kinds of military vehicles.
He doesn’t bother talking much about his time during the Korean War, as he is conscious of the pain that comes with wars: the wounds, the traumas, the deaths and the sorrows.
“There is no glory in war, so why talk about it?” he said.
All the same, De Boom is quite proud of his time in radio school. He still has his diploma marking his completion of 320 hours of training, the paper declaring his work “very satisfactory.”
While serving, others remarked on his good radio work, too. In writing on the reverse side of a photo of him attending radio school, he recalled, “One day I overheard him tell another pilot, ‘I have the best darn radio man.’”
Having married his wife, Adelyn, on March 5, 1952, his first child, Cheryl, was born while he was in Germany. They ended up having five more daughters and a son for a total of seven children. After his time in the military, De Boom farmed in the Ireton area until 1996. Upon retirement, he and Adelyn moved to Sioux Center in 1999.
Rather than talk about war, he believes history in general needs more attention. As part of his recovery from a skull fracture many years ago, De Boom began scrapbooking articles, pictures and jokes that caught his interest. Most have to do with farm life and how things used to be done, such as different methods of gathering hay. In addition to helping him recover from that accident, he sees historical value in these compilations.