A Quilt of Valor was presented to Jim Girard, Saturday, September 26, 2020, at his home. The presentation was made on his front lawn by Linda Schneider, along with American Legion Post #7, American Legion Riders Panhandle Chapter #43, and Hay Springs Riders Chapter # 239. The quilt was pieced by Sue Williams, quilted by Judy Meer, and bounded by Carol Bauer.
James Girard (Jim) was born on February 16, 1929. When he turned 18, he was required to register for the draft. He chose the Army. Since he was going to college to earn a four-year degree, he was allowed to pursue that degree with the knowledge that as soon as he finished he would serve his time in the Army. He was required to fill out paperwork each year to prove that he was still in college. On September 12, 1951, after earning his degree, he was inducted into the Army and sent to Missouri for basic training. He served two years active duty and then spent six years as a reserve. He received his honorable discharge September 11, 1959.
Immediately after arriving at the Army basic camp, he was injected with the smallpox vaccination. He became quite sick from the shot. When he returned home for a visit at Christmas time, his parents were shocked to see he had lost almost a hundred pounds. Since he was quite sickly from that vaccination, Jim was stationed at Ft. Riley in Kansas. With his college degree in business, he was assigned to be a recorder/record keeper. His duties included keeping a paper trail of AWOL prisoners, and records in general. He quickly advanced from Private to First class Private and then Corporal. The pay was $30.00 a month. The government had frozen the pay, so he would still advance in rank but not receive a pay raise.
Jim noticed young men at the age of 18, being assigned to Ft. Riley. Those young men had no life experiences, had never traveled and were scared to death. Jim would take these men under his wing and try to help them all he could for the few short months they were at Ft. Riley. Often when Jim could get some time off, he would hitchhike to Lincoln, Nebraska to visit his Aunt. It was not unusual for Jim to take other men with him to visit his Aunt. There they all would be well fed and taken care of for a few days.
At the end of his stint, he was offered Sargent, but decided not to reenlist.