Sunday, November 1, 2015

This Quilt Is So Nice

Dear Linda and Terry,

Thank you again for your role in the Quilt of Valor presentation for Joe yesterday. As you heard, Joe suffers from life-threatening seizures. As a result, Joe is unable to work, can't legally drive and is unable to participate in many of the activities he once enjoyed, including hunting and country swing dancing. As I'm sure you can imagine, the transition from a strong and hard-working soldier, husband and father to a man who must rely on others for many of the most basic independences has not been easy. A few things that Joe said within the 24 hours after the presentation have really resonated with me and I hope they will reinforce for you how important your volunteer work is for so many former soldiers.  

Here are just a few quotes and observations from the 24 hours after the presentation:

"I can't believe a Navy Seal drove all the way up from Wenatchee to honor me. A NAVY SEAL. No one has ever done anything like that for me before."

"This quilt is so nice. I already know where I am going to put it. It will look perfect folded on the back of my couch and I can use it as a throw."

Joe read and reread the inscription on the back of the quilt multiple times. He showed it to his mom, pointed out his name and said jokingly, "Don't get too attached to this quilt, it's mine."

And the real tear-jerker was this morning over coffee when Joe was reminiscing about the whole presentation again. Diane (his mom) said to Joe, "Did it make you feel special?" 

Joe said, "It did."

Diane replied, "See, the world hasn't forgotten about you."

In your short visit you gave Joe so much more than just a beautiful quilt. As the days go by, I hope his Quilt of Valor will serve as a warm reminder that the world has not left him behind. Thank you again.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


We received this update from our Alaska State Coordinator. Our volunteers are some of the hardest working volunteers in the country. They give so much—Thank You! 
From Linda Kau - Alaska State Coordinator
It's been awhile since I sent a State of Alaska update, so guess I'd better do that! This year we've had several major award ceremonies and numerous individual requests and visits. We also made trips onto Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson to award QOVs at the Warriors Transition Battalion, and to individual soldiers and airmen, when requested.

In April, we awarded quilts to the veterans returning from Washington D.C. on the Last Frontier Honor Flight. Twenty-three men and women enjoyed this surprise award at the Welcome Home ceremony. We've been asked to award QOV's once more at this weekend's Welcome Home ceremony. On this flight, of which twenty-three more recipients, will reach out to the farthest parts of the state's northwest corner; the Northern Interior, Annette Island in the Southeast, Kenai Peninsula, as well as, veterans located throughout South Central. One recipient is a member of the Alaska Territorial Guard, he kept his eyes on the Japanese during WWII. The only lady veteran on this flight was in the Nurse Corp where she met a young sailor whom she married after the war. That's a total of forty-six WWII and Korean War veterans. We might have missed them had it not been for the invitation to be part of The Last Frontier Honor Flight Welcome Home ceremonies.

In September, we made our 4th annual visit to the Alaska Veterans and Pioneer Home, where we awarded QOVs to twenty new veteran residents and three other local veterans for whom quilts had been requested. Each year, attrition takes away so many of our older veterans that we find that about twenty new QOVs are needed each September. This year, one lady veteran made the day extra special for everyone. She was so excited to receive a quilt and to see all of her fellow veterans receive theirs that her cheers and hugs warmed everyone's heart. We always have the local JROTC Color Guard open the ceremony and a local lady with a beautiful voice sings the National Anthem. Even the veterans who aren't able to leave their wheelchairs come to attention during this ceremony.

Another group that we have had the pleasure of making QOV's and awarding to is the local chapter of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association. They've even made me an associate member because I seem to "show up" to so many of their meetings.☺ In November, ten more of their members will be recognized as we award them QOVs. This will bring the total up to thirty-five members who have been recognized.

Our semi-annual retreats held at the local VFW post, always include awards held each evening and on Saturday afternoon. The VFW Auxiliary gives us names to honor each year, usually reaching out to the older veterans at their post. This year I also invited several for whom I had received individual requests for to join the festivities. At the fall retreat, I had one veteran ask if one of his buddies could also receive a QOV. Of course, I said yes. The evening of the event, a surprise visitor, another buddy who had served with the other two at various posts, came to watch the event. Buddy #2 said, "I sure wish I'd known Gonzo was going to be here,  I'd have asked if you could honor him, too." Well..........of course there just happened to be an extra quilt on the table and an extra award certificate in my bag.......So we ended up awarding fifteen quilts that weekend.
The group in Fairbanks covers the Interior and does a great job. They award quilts to the soldiers at Ft. Wainwright. When requested, they fill all of the individual requests for the Interior and reach out to the far north. Recently, we had a request for eight quilts to go to the small village of Anaktuvuk Pass (ever watch Ice Road Truckers?), Sally, our group leader, was able to find a traveling nurse who will use her airline miles to carry those quilts to the village and make the awards. This is an area that's pretty much isolated much of the year due to poor roads.

The new group, who formed earlier this year on Kodiak Island (about 250 miles southwest of Anchorage), hung their first eleven quilts at their local guild's quilt show the first weekend of the month. While there, they received several nominations which they will be able to fill immediately. Nice! This part of the state can be reached only by air or water, so I'm especially grateful to have a group leader there to make awards and bring the quilters into our fold.

Another new group this year is called Christ Church Cut Ups. Cute name, no? Before they even formed the group they'd received a grant from their diocese to buy tools, fabric, etc. to make quilts. Now they have added Quilts of Valor® to their ministry and we awarded their first quilt this last Friday night. I hope to have pictures and a story about this man and his QOV® soon. He's in his mid-nineties and has served his country and church all of those years. His service to the country started (as he said) proudly in April 1941 and continues today.

A guild in a neighboring town, between my home and Anchorage, has also formed a QOV membership group. They are off to a slower start, they have made one award so far. With the coming of winter I expect to hear more about their activities soon. They also hold monthly sew day so I'm sure they'll be up and running before long.

If you've read this far.......thank you! When I start talking QOV I seem to get very long winded.☺

Linda Kau
State of Alaska Coordinator
Quilts of Valor® Foundation

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

K.I.A. to receive a Quilt of Valor

K.I.A. to receive a Quilt of Valor

A Quilt of Valor will be awarded to Jacky Bayne on November 21, 2015 in Rock Hill, SC. 

Jacky Bayne was an infantry dog handler in Vietnam with his K-9, Bruno.  Their job was to locate mines and other explosives, then detonate them so others would not get injured.

While on a mission that lasted more than 24 hours with no sleep, Mr. Bayne was Killed in Action on July 16, 1967 in the jungles outside the port city of Chu Lai.  (please don’t make assumptions - continue reading) 

Bayne was declared dead, so he was put in a body bag.  At a field hospital, Sgt. Bruce Logan was tagging Bayne’s toe to identify him and as a young corpsman when for reasons unknown, he checked the body.  He found a faint pulse.

They rushed Bayne to the field hospital, but by then his pulse was gone, so they pronounced him dead again.

Before the field embalmers could start on Bayne, though, another pulse, weak, was found. A bit of blood came from the shredded leg. He was rushed back to the field hospital one more time, and this time, nobody came with a body bag.

The last thing Bayne remembered is Bruno and he got blown up.  It killed Bruno.

A month later he woke up at the Walter Reed Army hospital here in the states.   He thought he was a prisoner of war, maybe off in some camp someplace, and he heard his mother’s voice. He asked if any of my men got killed.   The answer was no.  The only one that died was Bruno.

“Bruno died, and I gave my leg and more”, Bayne said.  “But those soldiers did not die.  It was all I cared about then, that Bruno and I did our duty.”

At that Army hospital in 1967, Bayne weighed 70 pounds. He and his family were told that because of the loss of blood to his organs and brain, he would never be more than a “vegetable” if he did survive. Bayne suffered brain damage that affected his left arm and other functions – but he survived 1967 and several surgeries, a real-life American Vietnam War veteran.

He met a pretty girl named Patsy Lane who worked at one of the mills, and in 1974, Patsy and Jacky were married in front of a church packed to the rafters.   Bayne said, “I stood up that day on one leg and said, ‘I do’ – and I still do.  For Forty years she’s taken care of me.    Our marriage has never wavered.”

To this day, all Bayne ever cares about after being so badly wounded and disabled – with every right to be upset at being sent to a war where he lost part of his body and his independence – is telling people how much he loves America.

He firmly said, “This is the greatest country in the world.   Those men on the Vietnam wall, they died for this great country, and I sure respect every one of them.   I knew some of them close and personal.  I knew what kind of great Americans they were.   I saw what they did over there, what we had to do. I was right there with them.”

“The veterans is who I care about.   The ones that got killed, those that got hurt, those who came back to try to live afterward. These wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, too. When the soldiers come back; we better take care of them.”

“America didn’t give up on me. The people around here didn’t give up on me.  I died twice in Vietnam, but I’m still here.”

The Quilts of Valor Foundation has not given up on him either.  Mr. Jacky Bayne will be among 75 veterans to be awarded a Quilt of Valor on Saturday, November 21st.  The ceremony will be at Aldersgate United Methodist Church – 2115 Celanese Rd in Rock Hill, SC.  The veterans will meet and greet at 1:30 PM with the awards ceremony to start at 2:30 PM.

You can see Jacky Bayne’s story in newsprint and a video by going to the following sites.  The Herald  and on YouTube.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Marianne Fons Addresses Quilts of Valor Foundation

Paducah KY

National public television host Marianne Fons addresses Quilts of Valor Foundation conference attendees with information about a new pledge special about Quilts of Valor currently in production at Iowa Public Television.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Quilts of Valor and 4H Students

From Lincoln, Nebraska

Throughout the year eighteen 4H students worked on making 28 Quilts of Valor, which they proudly displayed on August 3 in York, Nebraska.

 Eileen K., is the University of Lincoln, Extension Agent, who has worked tirelessly these past several years to guide and encourage these young quilters in their endeavors. She retires this year. The students were interviewed earlier this year by Iowa Public Television who, in conjunction with Marianne Fons, will be producing a segment on the 4H students of York and Quilts of Valor. This display of QOV's was also taped for inclusion in the eventual production. The Quilts of Valor will be displayed at the Nebraska State Fair before being awarded to some very deserving vets.