DARIEN, Conn. -- Paul Ceglia noticed a picture of a friend receiving a quilt at Christie’s Quilting Boutique in Norwalk last year as part of the Quilts of Valor program, which provides the treasures for military veterans.
Ceglia, the assistant branch manager of the Darien branch of Darien Rowayton Bank, will receive his own quilt on Saturday morning. Ceglia and other veterans will be honored with a presentation at noon at the store, located at 176 Main St.
“I didn’t know about the program and I asked my friend about it,’’ Ceglia said. “That’s how it started. I put my name in and am honored to be selected.”
Ceglia served in the U.S. Army for two years, in 1967-68. He completed basic training in Georgia, learned advanced infantry skills at Fort Knox in Kentucky and was stationed in Buedingen, Germany for 18 months. He waited nervously the entire time for a call to fight in Vietnam.
“We were biting our fingernails,’’ Ceglia said. “Every month you waited for the allocation of units to come and hoped your name wasn’t on it.”
Ceglia became engaged with his Bronx childhood sweetheart, Maria, after he finished basic training and were married in 1968. The couple now lives in Norwalk. He remembers returning from his military commitment when tension escalated between anti-war activists and politicians.
“I got my pay and drove to Penn Station carrying my duffle bag,’’ Ceglia said. “It seemed then like soldiers had the reputation as baby killers. I got a lot of dirty looks. I think veterans now are getting a lot more respect, and they deserve it.”
Ceglia is one of the veterans who knows they will be receiving a quilt. Other veterans will be surprised when they receive the gift. “I think it’s a great idea,’’ Ceglia said. “
Quilts are made by volunteers at Christie’s, which opened in 2013. Christie Ruiz, a former school teacher in New Canaan, distributed Quilts of Valor for the first time last year.