Many hands make quilts of valor

By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist

At a ceremony held on July 4th at a local assisted living facility, members of the Evening Star Quilt Guild gathered to present quilts to four resident veterans.

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.

“This nationwide grassroots program started in 2003, and now over 150,000 Quilts of Valor have been presented,” Mary Lane, one of the presenters told those gathered.

“The wrapping of the quilt is to signify the wrapping of our arms around you. When you wrap it around yourself, please know people care and appreciate you,” Lane said.

Quilts of Valor reflect the nation’s patriotic colors and often showcase a traditional pattern—Log Cabin, Fence Rail, Churn Dash—or feature patriotic images, such as a Bald Eagle, U.S. flag or a praying soldier.

Each includes the Quilts of Valor label and is accompanied by a note from the maker to the recipient and is presented in a coordinating pillowcase.

“Quilts of Valor start out with most every part donated. The fabric first arrives in little squares that are sent home with quilters who volunteer to assemble them into a larger square of the specific pattern chosen,” Mary Lane explained.

“Once enough small pieces are assembled, the overall quilt design is chosen, composed and assembled and someone volunteers to quilt the entire piece on a long-arm quilting machine. The binding is the final touch.”

Recipients were Kim Seltzer, United States Marine Corps, 1954-1962, whose quilt was made by Kathy Wiley Perry and quilted by Judy Buster.

It read, “Thank you for the sacrifices you have made to have our freedom. July 4, 2017.”

Heritage Quilters of Huntsville pieced for Leon Marrow, veteran of the U.S. Army, 1951-53, his quilt that was machine quilted and hand-bound by Lura Campbell.

Roy Hallmark, veteran of the U.S. Air Force, 1952-1962, was the third recipient. Hallmark’s family, including grandchildren, attended the presentation.

Marilyn Boycott presented Leslie Johnston, veteran of the British Royal Air Force, 1942-1944, with his Quilt of Valor.

Boycott and her quilting group at The Church of Brook Hills assembled and sewed this quilt.

In Alabama, the Quilts of Valor movement started with a group of quilters in the Enterprise Quilt Guild, many connected to the soldiers stationed at nearby Fort Rucker.

The movement went statewide when Elizabeth Mathews took over the responsibilities of Alabama’s regional coordinator representing Quilts of Valor.

“These are comforting quilts to thank you for your service,” Elizabeth Matthews, Alabama’s regional QoV coordinator states online, “a tangible sign of our gratitude. Any day is Veterans Day to us. You are not forgotten. You are always remembered for signing a blank check to willingly sacrifice your life for our freedoms.”