Quilts of Valor honors Wilsonville veterans

Quilt of Valor Alabama Director Elizabeth Mathews in the quilting room at Magnolia Retreat in Odenville in front of the Wilsonville QOV countdown calendar with volunteer QOV quilters: back row: Carol Rayfield (Moody); Barbara Willingham (Moody); Clydene Dyer (Branchville); Amy Jett (Eastaboga); and front row: Evelyn Milligan (Odenville); Mathews; and Janice Long (Chelsea.) (Contributed)

Quilt of Valor Alabama Director Elizabeth Mathews in the quilting room at Magnolia Retreat in Odenville in front of the Wilsonville QOV countdown calendar with volunteer QOV quilters: back row: Carol Rayfield (Moody); Barbara Willingham (Moody); Clydene Dyer (Branchville); Amy Jett (Eastaboga); and front row: Evelyn Milligan (Odenville); Mathews; and Janice Long (Chelsea.) (Contributed)

By Phoebe Donald Robinson  / Community Columnist
Our freedom is not free. It has come with much sacrifice. Since the American Revolution through Iraq and Afghanistan wars, more than 1.3 million soldiers serving our country have died, 2.7 million have been wounded and 38,159 are still missing.
In 2003, Blue Star mother Catherine Roberts with son Nathaniel deployed in Iraq began the Quilts of Valor Foundation from her sewing room in Delaware. She came upon the idea of welcoming home our warriors with comforting, healing Quilts of Valor, a tangible reminder to our military that America appreciates and values their service. The grassroots all volunteer effort took root and spread across this nation.
“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,” said Alabama QOV Coordinator Elizabeth Mathews. Since its inception more than 106,000 veterans have received QOV. At the 2014 Columbiana Quilt Walk, 25 veterans were recently covered.
In 2013, former Wilsonville Mayor Frances Phelps was honored with her QOV at the 2013 Columbiana Quilt Walk, covering her for years of service as a WWII WAVE along with 18 other war veterans. The service inspired her to cover veterans from her community with QOV. Her idea has blossomed to a massive project led by Phelps and daughter Ann involving more than 100 people culminating Sunday, Nov. 1, 2014, at the Wilsonville United Methodist Church when over 65 veterans will be covered with QOV.
This mammoth project has taken months and thousands of volunteer hours. In February 2014, Phelps organized a “Sew Day” with Mathews’ help. Experienced quilters taught novice sewers how to make a quilt top at Wilsonville UMC, the first step in the QOV process. Then the following steps took place: 2. TLC and triage making the quilt form to the basic QOV guidelines; 3. Top 100 percent quilted on a long arm quilting machine; 4. Binding attached and hand finished with labels and 5. Presentation cases made. One QOV can pass through many volunteer’s hands and take weeks to make.
The QOV reception is sponsored by the Wilsonville Civitan Club and Wilsonville United Methodist Church UMW with special music sung by Madison Wilson.
For more info, see Qovf.org.