Submitted by Janice M. Rousselle
One of Essex Jct.’s favorite sons was awarded a ‘Quilt of Valor’ last November at the annual convention of the National Grange in Stowe.
Harold Henry Bergeron was one of twenty veterans and Grange Members from around the United States who were given a quilt to commemorate their service in the armed forces.
What Are ‘Quilts of Valor’?
A ‘Quilt of Valor’ is a quality-made quilt, not a “charity quilt.” A Quilt of Valor had to be quilted, not tied, which meant hand or machine quilting. Quilts of Valor would be “awarded,” not just passed out like magazines or videos. A ‘Quilt of Valor’ would say unequivocally, “Thank you for your service, sacrifice, and valor” in serving our nation in combat.
More information about the ‘Quilts of Valor’ program can be found on the internet under Quilts of Valor.
The following short history of Harold’s Service was provided by Harold’s daughter (Ann Yandow) and read at the presentation ceremony.
Harold Henry Bergeron was drafted at the age of 28 in 1943 into the US Army and sent to Camp Blanding, Florida where the 66th Infantry was being activated. He was assigned to Company C of the 264th Regiment, known as the Black Panthers. After three weeks of basic training he was asked to assist the company clerk. He remained in the states for 18 moths moving to Little Rock, Arkansas and then to Camp Rucker, Alabama.
In late October 1944 he received orders to go to Europe. He was assigned as mail clerk and made a list of all the men and what platoon they were in and kept the list in his pocket. On Dec. 23, 1944 he boarded the ship Leopoldville which was headed to the Battle of the Bulge. Four miles from Cherbourg, a German torpedo hit the ship. Harold jumped onto a destroyer but 800 men from his unit lost their lives that night. The only records that survived were what was in Harold’s pocket and his memory!
Harold recreated new records for all 150 men remaining in his unit and received a Bronze Star from General Kramer for his efforts. The 66th division was deactivated in Aries, France and Harold was the last men to leave Company C.
In 2013 he was recognized by the State VFW as being the oldest vet in the state and in 2014 he was presented with the French Legion of Honor Medal.
Harold first joined the Colchester Grange in 1930 and upon returning from war, joined the Essex Center Grange in 1946, and is presently a member of Blue Spruce Grange in Essex Jct.