Monday, April 22, 2024

'A good serviceman'

Staff Writer | March 2, 2024 1:08 AM

POST FALLS — Theresa Almeida has always been proud of her father, Ray Almeida.

He is, she said, one of the best men she has ever known.

“He is the barometer I judge every man by,” Theresa Almeida said.

So when Ray Almeida was presented with a Quilt of Valor recently at the Idaho National Guard Armory in Post Falls, his daughter beamed with pride. She said his integrity and honesty shine through.

“His moral compass never strays,” she said.

Ray grinned after he was presented with the colorful quilt by Kayla Main with Quilts of Valor, a nationwide nonprofit, during the brief ceremony. 

She said their mission is “to honor active duty service members and veterans with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor. These quilts are an expression of gratitude meant to thank you and comfort you.”

The Quilts of Valor Foundation has presented over 225,000 quilts to veterans and service members in all 50 states. 

Ray Almeida, a Coeur d'Alene resident who served in the Air Force from 1954 to 1962, was pleased. He smiled as he wrapped the red, white and blue quilt around his shoulders and posed for pictures.

“It was totally unexpected,” he said. “I’m just so honored about this.”

Almeida enjoyed his eight-year military career. His duties included maintaining and repairing radar sets in Yaak, Mont., where temperatures dropped to 45 below zero.

The 87-year-old said he met many military people who influenced his career.

“I had a fantastic master sergeant on one base and a not-so-great guy on other,” Almeida said, laughing.

He and his wife, Janet, have been married 53 years.

She described her husband as a devout Christian, dedicated to God, family and country, with a gentle spirit.

“He’s one of those guys, when you play the national anthem, he sings, and he cries," Janet Almeida said. 

She said her husband was an outstanding radar technician, who led by example during his military career.

“Such a good serviceman,” Janet Almeida said. “A kind-hearted man who looked after service guys.”

    Ray Almeida listens to a speaker during his Quilt of Valor ceremony on Tuesday at the Idaho National Guard Armory in Post Falls.

    Ray Almeida and wife Janet Almeida share a moment after he received a Quilt of Valor on Tuesday.