I wrote routinely for our community newspaper, the South Dade News Leader for a couple of years. I met a lot of interesting people since my focus was on human interest stories and history of the area. There were plenty of uplifting stories and among them were women who made quilts to send to deployed troops. I had met some of them when doing research for the Small Town Lies quilting series and that led me to hearing about the other project for the troops. That, in turn, led me to learn of the Quilts of Valor Foundation (http://www.qovf.org). It is a national foundation based in Iowa with this as their mission: “The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.” In some cases they send quilts to hospitals and at other times, make direct presentations to military members selected in special recognition.
Yesterday, I attended a luncheon where six active duty soldiers and one retired naval officer were given quilts and it was a great pleasure to do so. The woman who linked multiple organizations together had created one of the quilts. There are several different quilting groups around and in this situation, there is a “mini-group” within the larger group and they focus on the Quilts for Valor contributions. There are also different organizations that are comprised of retired military and/or those who have a connection to the military. May is Military Appreciation Month and presenting the quilts at the May meeting of the MOAA has now become a tradition. (MOAA is Military Officers Association of America). The soldiers were present (two with their wives) and the retiree was unable to attend, but his wife and daughter were there. A short paragraph was read about each individual; particularly about a combat event in which his actions were notable. The Colonel who was reading the paragraph made an interesting comment before he began about how none of the men there viewed their actions as “special” in the sense they all did what they expected each of them to do under those circumstances. And not surprisingly, none of them chose to speak, but merely to smile and say, “Thank you for this honor.”
I don’t have a photo of the individual quilts, but as you can imagine, there was definitely a “red, white, and blue” theme. Each of the quilts was carefully “packed” inside an “pillowcase” that had also been crated as a holder for it. There were all double-bed/queen size.