Avery Wilson had just graduated from high school in his Missouri hometown when he was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served during the Korean War and also served in the Arctic at a Distant Early Warning Line radar station, which watched for the approach of Soviet bombers during the Cold War.
Wilson is best known as the pastor of the local Baptist church, where he served church members for more than 27 years and was a regular at the McDonald’s morning coffee klatch before moving to Lockport this year.
St. Juvin Post members gathered July 28 to present Wilson with his commemorative blanket throw. St. Juvin Post has distributed almost
400 of the mementos after the program started in 2012.
The blanket exchange began as a way to honor area veterans and began as a gift exchange at Christmas. Before that, the post directed money to the accounts of veterans staying in local assisted-living facilities, although not everyone needed money.
The blankets represent the branch of the service the veteran served in and includes their name or nickname embroidered on it as well.
Each blanket is made in the U.S.
The post raises money during its annual poppy program around Veterans Day and during raffles held throughout the year to pay for the blankets.