A special gift helped a Hamilton World War II veteran remember friends who didn’t return

World War II Navy veteran Herman H. Lorance, who moved to Hamilton shortly after the war, received a “Quilt of Honor” on Monday at his home.

The quilts are made by volunteers in Iowa for the Quilts of Valor Foundation, whose goal is to “cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.”

Lorance, a father of seven, will turn 94 on April 4.

He knew his 97-year-old sister from Perry, Iowa, was making a visit to him, but had no idea she would be accompanied by a quilt, which was made by her friend, Marti Klatt, an award-winning quilter.

“He was pretty overwhelmed,” said daughter Renee Lorance, who noted he was wrapped in the quilt as part of the ceremony.

“He didn’t cry, but he got like he was going to,” she said.

Herman later said, “When I received the quilt, I was really overwhelmed, it meant so much to me. To be loved like that really gave me a warm feeling. I felt the love, but really feel it’s the ones who didn’t make it back home who are the real heroes.”

Renee said, “Two of my brothers held up the quilt so everybody could see it” while there was a speech about the quilts program. “And then they have him stand up, and they wrap the quilt around the veteran.”

Lorance served in the Navy in the Pacific as a skipper of a tank landing craft and landing ship tank. He also served in Okinawa, during active duty that lasted from July, 1293, through June, 1946. He later served in the Naval Reserve from 1952-1972. He is a member of Ohio LST Amphibs and VFW Post 1069.

Herman Lorance after receiving the quilt said that to him, “it signified the friends he lost when he was over there,” his daughter said.

Before the war, Lorance lived in Iowa and earned his bachelor’s degree in dairy from Iowa State University, where he met the woman who would become his wife, Joan Lorance, who passed away in 2011.

The foundation has distributed more than 200,000 quilts since it was founded in 2003. It began after the son of the founder had a dream about a depressed man slumped over with sadness. Then the boy’s dream showed the same man looking happier, wrapped in a quilt.

The quilt foundation is based in Winterset, Iowa, the birthplace of actor John Wayne. Winterset also is in Madison County, Iowa, home to the ‘Bridges of Madison County,’ a place that was home to the 1995 film starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood.

Lorance wrote a book after he retired as a researcher at Procter & Gamble that was called “The Herman Lorance Story,” largely as a reason to work on a computer and force himself to learn how to use the machines.

The quilt has a Navy theme, and “it’s just pretty incredible,” Renee Lorance said.

About the Author