The Edmond Sun


June 17, 2014

Quilting for love, valor

Family honors Edmond WWII veteran, 97

DEL CITY — More than 100 members of the Benne family gathered Saturday for their biennial family reunion, but this year, among the Dymeks, Wellses, Morrises, McDaniels, trays of comfort food and fellowship, the clan converged to honor their most revered, Earl Benne.

“If one person deserved this recognition, he did,” said Vicki Wells, 59, of her uncle. “He is the patriarch of this family.”

The longtime Edmond resident, Benne, 97, is a living reminder of the city’s roots. The self-described “country boy” farmed fields in Deer Creek, drove a team of horses for the oil industry and answered the nation’s call during World War II. As the oldest of 12 children in a close-knit family, Earl provided an example for his younger brothers and sisters even after the passing of their parents.

“It is hard to put into words,” said Oneta McDaniel, 72, of her brother and the admiration she feels for him. “He made sure we were all taken care of. We were like his children. He has been very generous.”

Circumstances could have been very different for the Benne family. During his enlistment in the Army, Earl was part of a group of 34 men captured following a battle in Italy. He endured captivity from May 12, 1944, to April 22, 1945. The family had no knowledge of Earl’s whereabouts or condition until his first letter arrived at home.

“It was a very stressful time for my mother,” McDaniel recalled prior to the letter’s delivery. “The mailman started out at the end of the block honking his horn. He knew it was going to be a very important letter.”

More letters would follow until Earl’s eventual return home. It would be several years before Earl recovered from his war experiences, but it did not hinder him from embracing the love and support from the family.

“Uncle Earl opened his house to everyone,” Wells said. “It was so much fun, and he loved to tease all the kids.”

After a lifetime of giving to his loved ones, the Benne family selected their reunion and, more appropriately Flag Day, to show Earl how much he has meant to them.

Back in March sisters Joyce Dymek, 64, and Linda Morris, 66, discussed the idea of constructing a Quilt of Valor for their Uncle Earl.  

“We thought it would be good for the reunion,” Dymek said. “So we called around to make sure Earl would like it.”

Quilts of Valor began as a project by Blue Star parent Catherine Roberts. She was inspired by her son, Nathanael’s, deployment in Iraq. She sought for a way to welcome home veterans with “love and gratitude.” According the Quilts of Valor Website more than 95,000 quilts have been constructed and presented to the nation’s veterans.

The response was overwhelmingly positive and the quilters began in March.

Several months later the quilt was completed and reunion planned. The largest roadblock to the presentation might have been Earl himself.

The former oil field worker is very modest and does not like the spotlight turned on him.

“I appreciate everything,” he stated. “I’m just an old country boy. I don’t want anyone to know too much about me.”

While Earl will not say it or even acknowledge it, his brother Carl, 82, has no problem voicing it for him.  

“He deserves it … for all he has been through over the years,” Carl said of the reunion recognition. “Family is important. They come first. He has meant the world to us.”

FOR MORE information on the Quilts of Valor visit

Text Only
  • peach formatted.jpg Hard year for peaches doesn’t dampen summer tradition  

    A rusting, silver-colored water tower tells visitors to this rural town between Muskogee and Tulsa that they’ve come to the “Peach Capitol of Oklahoma.”
    Residents of Stratford, the state’s other self-proclaimed peach capital, might beg to differ. Even so, Porter is known for its peaches, and every year thousands of people flood this town of about 600 residents to taste and celebrate the local crop during the three-day Peach Festival.
    Like the aging water tower, Porter’s peach industry isn’t as vibrant as it once was.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Final step to train toddler with baby on way

    Q: Using your advice, I successfully toilet-trained my daughter by age 16 months. It is now three months later and we are still using diapers at naps and nighttime. At her nap, which lasts several hours, she fully soaks her diaper. At night, she is taking off her diaper prior to falling asleep, wetting the bed after she goes to sleep and then crying for us when she wakes up in a pool of pee. Is this a sign that I should begin night training? I'm hesitant to do this because I am 8 months pregnant and don't relish the idea of waking up several times a night to take her to the bathroom and tending to a newborn as well. I would prefer to continue using diapers until she is old enough to get out of bed and take herself to the potty (even a potty in her room). Is this unrealistic? Or should I just deal with the extra night wakings and start taking her to the potty a few times a night now? If not, how do I keep her diaper on at night?

    July 25, 2014

  • Living Smart: How landscaping can deter intruders, pests

    Done right, landscaping can do much more than attract compliments and boost your property value. It can help you repel intruders, both human and natural.
    Landscaping experts who’ve earned high marks from Angie’s List members say overgrown bushes and shrubs are like welcome mats to burglars. Keep plants and trees trimmed. Place thorny but attractive bougainvillea or barberry bushes under windows, sending would-be thieves a sharp message to go elsewhere.

    July 25, 2014

  • 7-26 YARD OF THE WEEK.jpg Ganns earn Yard of the Week honors

    This week’s “Edmond Yard of the Week” winner has been in existence for 44 years at 105 Barbara Drive, but looks fresh and new thanks to longtime residents Betty and Gordon Gann as they fill their garden spaces to overflowing with colors and textures.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Discard the boredom of family game night

    We’re all about families having fun together, and game night is one of the best ways to do that. But playing the same games over and over can get a little stale. So in the interests of injecting a little more fun into your family’s game night, here are some great choices that will keep you and yours engaged and laughing.

    July 25, 2014

  • What’s normal age for voice change?

    Q: When is it normal for a boy’s voice to change? My son is 10, and his voice is getting deeper every day.
    A.: “It’s a very variable process,” says pediatrician Bonnie Miller, associate director of general pediatrics at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y.. “Puberty will begin as early as age 9. Generally with the advent of puberty, the voice box changes.”

    July 25, 2014

  • IMG_2996.JPG Krazy Daze hits downtown Edmond

    Newly transplanted Edmond residents Hannah Brenning, Cheyenne Middle School 8th grader; Jordan Brenning, Cross Timbers 4th grader; and Sydney Brenning, North High School freshman; check out the items in front of Sterling's in downtown Edmond during the Krazy Daze Sale lasting through Saturday. Businesses will open their doors at 10 a.m. and close at 5:30 p.m.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Living history presented at metropolitan libraries

    Hear stories of pace setting women in different eras throughout history. Biographies of Wild West trailblazers, The Harvey Girls, WWII assembly line champion-Rosie the Riveter, mail order bride Mary Elizabeth Walker, and Oklahoma society lady Stella Louise Wilson-Johnson will be reenacted by gifted and prolific storyteller Barbara Byrd.
    Stella Louise Wilson-Johnson was the wife of a prominent Guthrie attorney who shares her experiences and adventures during the early days of Oklahoma statehood. Her presentation will be at 7 p.m. Monday, July 28, Edmond Library, 10 S. Boulevard. For more information, visit

    July 25, 2014

  • Preparing for a fall home garden

    Gardening can be a year-around activity for those that have an appreciation for fresh and nutritious vegetables. Some of the best vegetables in Oklahoma are produced and harvested during the cooler weather of fall. Successful fall gardens, however, require some work in the summer growing season. Factors to be considered are location, soil preparation, crops to be grown and how/when to plant.  
    The major consideration for garden placement is sunlight. All vegetables require some sunlight; the most popular vegetables require full sun. “Full” sun means at least 8 hours of intense, direct exposure.

    July 24, 2014

  • Fall gardening season has arrived

    Even though the temperature is hot and there are still summer vacations on the calendar, it is time to start thinking about planting your fall garden.
    Most Oklahoma gardeners are still reaping the rewards of their spring gardens, said David Hillock, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension consumer horticulturist, but it is not too early to plan for fall gardening crops.

    July 23, 2014