Sharing our Appreciation
The U.S. presidential election process has made me think about ways that Americans work together. One way is to show appreciation for those citizens who voluntarily risk their lives to protect us. Unsurprisingly, many quilters have shown this appreciation by making quilts for veterans of the armed services.
In our January/February 2013 issue award winning quilter Sherry Reynolds shared her experiences with making quilts for veterans. She participated in making both a group quilt and one entirely on her own.
The lovely star quilt below was made by a group of The Quilt Show members on Facebook for Pfc Heath Dalton Clemons, one of the quilters’ grandsons-in-law who had been seriously injured in Afghanistan
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Group Quilt made for Pfc Heath Dalton Clemons

While working on this quilt Sherry learned the story of another brave soldier. She was tremendously inspired by the story of Sgt. Joe Grabianowski  who, while evacuating the seriously wounded Pfc Clemons, was himself critically injured by another IED. Joe was sent to Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Maryland, where both his legs were amputated at the hip. In Sherry’s words “Despite his own grave condition, Sgt. Joe kept asking about Dalton, the soldier he had saved. My heart was filled with admiration for Sgt. Joe’s heroism, valor and character and I wanted to acknowledge his valiant efforts by making a special quilt for him. I feel immensely grateful to this young man, and hope that if my own children are ever in a critical situation, someone of Sgt. Joe’s character and courage is nearby.” In response to Sgt. Joe’s heroism Sherry made Star of Valor.

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Star of Valor ©Sherry Reynolds
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Detail Star of Valor ©Sherry Reynolds
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Detail Star of Valor ©Sherry Reynolds

“This quilt, Star of Valor will never replace what Sgt. Joe has lost, but I do hope that he and his family know the gratitude and pride that he has evoked in so many through his selfless heroism.”

In addition to groups like the one Sherry participated in, a wonderful organization called Quilts of Valor has been creating quilts for American combat veterans since 2003. To date, a staggering 141,318 quilts have been recorded by the organization!

From the QOV website: “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.”

I asked one of the QOV Colorado state coordinators, Alycia Carmin, to share with us how she feels about participating in the Quilts of Valor program:
“I will tell you that participating in Quilts of Valor is so much more that just the giving of a quilt, it is teaching of new quilters, it is getting a community behind the honoring of our Veterans, it is seeing the smile of gratitude from our Veterans, that someone cared enough to reach out and actually thank them for something that was above and beyond the call of duty, to see the walls come down, and to be able to witness the telling of a war story that they never felt they could share. To be able to hear of the healing that that quilt started, to be called an angel for a simple act of kindness. It never fails to touch my heart and soul as to how much the quilt make an impact on their healing, their dealing with life, and of course – the smiles on their faces.”

 Alycia has many examples of Quilts of Valor and photos of veterans receiving their quilts on her blog.

Would you like to contribute to this wonderful group? There are many ways to help, through donations of money or fabric, by making a quilt, or by volunteering your longarm services. Check out the QOV website for more information.

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