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Pala honors Vietnam vet with "Quilt of Valor"

7 August 2013

PALA, California -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- Pala Casino Resort and Spa’s penchant for creating impactful impressions for its players and guests was never more evident than when its Special Events team recently honored Vietnam Veteran Richard Mathews with a Quilt of Valor for his contributions to our country’s freedom.

Mathews, of Escondido, California, served two tours of duty in the Vietnam War in two branches of service. In 1965 and ’66, he was a U.S. Marine Corps Second Lieutenant stationed in Chu Lai when the U.S. built an air base in the coastal city. He was honorably discharged from the Corps in ’66. But in 1969, he joined the U.S. Army, returned to Vietnam and rose to the rank of Sergeant First Class while stationed in Pleiku in the central highlands. In late 1970, he was reassigned stateside and retired from the Army in 1974.

Mathews and his wife, Victoria, began visiting Pala in September 2012 for gaming fun, entertainment and dining. The friendliness, courtesy and service provided by the entire staff struck a chord with the former Marine.

So, he wrote a letter to Sue Welp, Pala’s vice president of guest development.

“I just want to sincerely let you and all your employees know how thankful I am for the precious wealth that is being shown to me and my wife by everyone there,” he said. “The recognition, consideration and respect shown to us are very satisfying and by my own evaluation standards, every time I leave Pala I feel like a winner.”

The letter was read in every department meeting and was a highlight at the casino’s Team Member of the Month luncheon, which recognizes Pala team members for extraordinary service.

At the luncheon, Pala Special Events Rep Francesca Wade heard Mathews’s words and called her mother, Suzanne Wade, a Quilting Angel with the national Quilts of Valor Foundation. Today, Suzanne Wade is a Quilting Angel in Hemet, California, but she began her work over 500 quilts ago at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

“We quilt honor and comfort for our war wounded. Every quilt is made with an individual design. But all are stitched with red, white and blue cotton cloth and thread,” she said.

It took three days to complete Richard Mathews’s quilt. He was not aware it had been made until it was delivered to his home. Mathews had been injured in a fall and could not travel. As with all Quilts of Valor, the accompanying letter thanked him for his service to the country.

“It exceeds all expectations,” he said.

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