I was invited to be the Veteran's Day guest speaker at St Anne's Catholic Soldarity Meeting in Bethany Beach, Delaware. The woman's group was honoring two women who had served overseas during the Second World War.
I arrived early at the church with five Quilts of Valor in hand. I was surprised to see the entire church hall set up with festive plates, cups and table decoractions. I was expecting a much smaller group. I met with Lois Rubinsohn, the woman in charge of the Soldarity group and she explained the days events and told me I was welcome to put the quilts across one of the tables for display.
Maurine Scanlon served as a nurse and Elsie Cadden served as a shipping clerk for the Army. Both ladies were treated to a wonderful luncheon and fellowship. The Soldarity chair and cochair each took turns telling about the lives of Maurine and Elsie. They both have had a full and interesting life.
As the guest speaker, I was asked to talk about the Quilts of Valor and how Catherine was inspired to get the organization off the ground. At the close of my program, questions were permitted. One of the women, we both are members of the same quilt guild and a frequesnt visitor to Serendipity Quilt Shop where I work, asked me to tell the group about the Quilt of Valor Day at Serendipity. I explained that the next QOV Day would be January 8, 2011 and that everything need to make a block was provided. All they needed to do was come and join us for the fun of making a block that would join other blocks to make a Quilt of Valor. The excitement in the room was overwhelming. I hope the shop and my QOV partner Laurel Braunstein are ready for the overflow of people.
At the end of the program there was still one surprise left. I asked Elsie and Maurine to please come forward to receive their own Quilt of Valor. To say they were speechless in an understatment. They both came forward in awe and by the time they had QOV's in hand had tears running down their faces.
Maurine told me as we walked out of the church hall together, “ This is beyond my comprehension. Someone made something so wonderful for me, when all I did was the duty I felt compelled to do. It's amazing, absolutely amazing”. All the way home I couldn't help but think how often Laurel and I hear those same words from many QOV receipients. We find that amazing.
Days after this meeting I was contacted by several women asking to have a Quilt of Valor awarded to a family member or close friend. One woman's husband was slowly dieing of cancer. I brought a QOV to work and when she arrived a few days later I sent the Quilt of Valor home with her. All together seven additional Quilts of Valor were awarded due to the Soldarity meeting on Veteran's Day.