Columbia, SC - (WLTX) Three veterans were presented with a warm token of appreciation for their military service in an event held at the State Library.

Veterans Earl King, Nollie Wagers and John Rapp have a combined total of nearly 90 years of miltary service.

The three received quilts of valor.

The mission of the Quilts of Valor program is to cover each veteran affected by war with a warm and comforting blanket.

"What a touching moment this is for me and the three other veterans" says Nollie Wagers, a 35-year veteran of the U.S. Army.

The idea for the program began in 2003 by a woman named Catherine Roberts who was a quilter and had a son deployed to Iraq.

The program now has thousands of quilters across all 50 states. So far they've made nearly 205,000 quilts and the veterans couldn't be happier to be receiving this honor judging by the looks on their faces at the ceremony.

John Rapp, a 30-year veteran of the Air Force expressed his gratitude for the quilt by saying, "This quilt means there's a great warmth in people's heart and not just in the material. To recognize the valor, the consistency, the devotion and the service of many many much beyond me."

Earl King, a Columbia native and a 22-year veteran who was a pilot in the Air Force shared how special it was to receive this honor in his hometown. "It meant quite a little bit to be recognized but it meant a lot more to have this here. Being in your hometown, that's for your entire life and I'll remember it" says King.

The first quilt was presented in 2003 at Walter Reed Army Hospital to a young solider who lost his leg in Iraq.