Local Indian chief awarded Quilt of Valor along with six war veterans

Local Indian chief awarded Quilt of Valor along with six war veterans (Madeline Montgomery/WPDE)

The chief of the Waccamaw Indian People was awarded a special honor Friday, along with six other war veterans.

"You're in a place where you fit. And, being an American Indian, you don't fit in a lot of places because there aren't a lot of us around," said Harold Hatcher, who served in the Army for 20 years.

His wife was also awarded a quilt for her 20 years in the U.S. Air Force.

"It makes me feel proud," said Susan Hatcher.

"We award quilts to veterans who have served in a combat era," said Joan Wobbleton, a regional coordinator for the organization Quilts of Valor.

The Hatchers were especially touched after the way Vietname veterans were treated when they returned from war.

"There were people throwing rotten apples and tomatoes and stuff at us. So, there was a bit of shame or something for being a Vietnam vet and this kind of helps get rid of some of that," said Harold.

"Him being a Vietnam vet, he's never really gotten the welcome. It kind of breaks me up. But, I wanted to do something for him to let him know he's gotten this welcome," said Susan.

"We want to make sure that these veterans, even 50-some years later, understand we appreciate what they did," said Wobbleton.

Chief Hatcher said being in the armed forces is in his blood.

"Indian people serve in the military more than any other ethnic group per capita. We tend to be warriors. We want to be warriors and, so, a lot of us join the military," said Harold.

The warrior by his side set the whole thing up.

"I wanted to do this for him to let him know that, you know, that I'm proud of him, and I wanted to say thank you and I wanted to make sure he got this," said Susan.

If you know a veteran you would like to honor with a Quilt of Valor, go to their website.

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