UACES Facebook Cooperative Extension Service warehouse specialist awarded Quilt of Valor
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Cooperative Extension Service warehouse specialist awarded Quilt of Valor

By Rebekah Hall
U of A System Division of Agriculture

May 13, 2024

Fast Facts:

  • Johnny Woodley has served 34 years in U.S. Army National Guard, with deployments in Iraq, Kosovo, Ukraine
  • Woodley a Chief Warrant Officer 3, currently assigned to 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Headquarters with Arkansas National Guard
  • Quilts of Valor Foundation group Never Forgotten in Arkansas crafted, presented Woodley’s quilt

(898 words)
(Newsrooms: With art)

LITTLE ROCK — Never Forgotten in Arkansas, a group of Saline County quilters with the Quilts of Valor Foundation, recently awarded a Quilt of Valor to Johnny Woodley, warehouse specialist for the Cooperative Extension Service, to honor his decades of military service to Arkansas and the United States.

HAND-STITCHED GRATITUDE — Two members of the Never Forgotten in Arkansas Quilts of Valor group wrap Johnny Woodley's quilt around him. Throughout his 34 years in the Arkansas National Guard, Woodley has deployed to Kosovo, Germany and twice to Iraq, and he currently holds the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 3 in the 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Headquarters with the Arkansas National Guard. (Division of Agriculture photo.) 

The ceremony took place May 3 during a Technology and Textiles training at the Cooperative Extension Service State Office in Little Rock. Extension agents, program assistants and family and consumer sciences teachers gathered to learn about using STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — in textiles projects. One service-learning project included constructing a quilt block that will be used in a future Quilt of Valor.

The Cooperative Extension Service is the outreach and education arm of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

Woodley has worked for the extension for 27 years as a warehouse specialist, part of the facilities management team, at the state office. He joined the Arkansas National Guard in 1990 as a private first class and currently holds the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 3 in the 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Headquarters with the Arkansas National Guard. During his service, Woodley has deployed to Kosovo, Germany and twice to Iraq.

Throughout his military career, Woodley has earned numerous awards and decorations, including the National Defense Service Medal with one Bronze Star, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal with one Bronze Service Star, the Arkansas Federal Service Ribbon and the Arkansas National Guard Service Ribbon with four diamonds.

Kris Boulton, Saline County extension staff chair for the Division of Agriculture, thanked Woodley for his service.

“One of the things that’s most touching about Chief Johnny Woodley is he is the most sincere person, and he has the most humble presence,” Boulton said. “He has a huge amount of respect when he’s in the Guard, but here at extension, you would never know that he is Chief Woodley. He is one of the most sweet and tender people I know. He has served our country well, and I truly appreciate that.”

John Anderson, senior associate vice president of extension for the Division of Agriculture, spoke from personal experience about the meaningfulness of Woodley’s Army service.

“As an 18-year-old man myself, a long time ago, I enlisted in the Army Reserve to pay for school,” Anderson said. “When I was asked to speak today, I was very enthusiastic about it. Having at least a tiny bit of service myself, learning about Johnny’s service really meant a lot to me because I can see the significance of what this man has accomplished and what his service has been.”

Anderson said that as Chief Warrant Officer 3, Woodley has a unique set of technical and tactical skills.

“Chiefs are respected up and down the rank structure, not just for the rank on their uniform but for what they know and what they can do,” Anderson said. “I guarantee you, everyone in his unit up to his commanding officer is going to have a great deal of respect for Chief Woodley. He has our respect, not just because of his rank, but because of what he knows, and how he has served selflessly for a long time.”

Handmade and heartfelt gratitude

Karen Mitchell, group leader for the Never Forgotten in Arkansas Quilts of Valor group in Saline County, said the Quilts of Valor Foundation seeks to “cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.”

“Since its founding in 2003, Quilts of Valor Foundation has awarded over 382,000 quilts to veterans of military action, conflicts and wars, including World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Beirut, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan,” Mitchell said. “Each quilt is formed by loving hands joining bits of fabric together, one piece at a time.

“This quilt brings to you a three-part message from our hearts: first, we honor you for leaving all you hold dear to stand in harm’s way in a time of crisis, protecting us from the efforts of war,” she said. “Next, our quilters know that freedom is not free. The cost of our freedom is the dedication of lives of men and women like you. This quilt is meant to offer you comfort and to remind you that although family and friends cannot always be there, you are forever in our thoughts and hearts.”

The American Heritage Girls, a Christian-based scouting group from Saline County, served as the Color Guard for the ceremony. Rhiannon Dixon, Scarlett Dixon, Naomi Orme, Emma Orme and Brianna Moore presented the flag and led attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem.

After receiving his Quilt of Valor, Woodley shared his appreciation for the honor, thanking his wife Telina Woodley for “wearing two hats when I’m gone, because when I’m deployed, my family is deployed.”

“I also want to thank the Cooperative Extension Service and the Division of Agriculture, because this organization has supported my career to where I am,” Woodley said. “I am a humble person, but I am a server, and that’s what I did. It feels good to be able to serve and be recognized.

“This Quilt of Valor means a great deal because they put in the time, the hours into stitching this quilt,” he said. “I feel honored to be among other veterans who’ve received these.”

For more information about the Quilts of Valor Foundation, visit  

To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit Follow us on X and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow on X at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit Follow us on X at @AgInArk. 

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system. 

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.  

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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Media Contact:
Rebekah Hall