Friday, November 26, 2010

Important Notice of Upcoming Event

Hello to the entire QOVF community,
I would like to alert you to the first television screening of an important documentary, Restrepo, which we highly recommend you see.

RESTREPO is a feature-length documentary that chronicles the deployment of a platoon of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. The movie focuses on a remote 15-man outpost, "Restrepo," named after a platoon medic who was killed in action. It was considered one of the most dangerous postings in the U.S. military. This is an entirely experiential film: the cameras never leave the valley; there are no interviews with generals or diplomats. The only goal is to make viewers feel as if they have just been through a 90-minute deployment. This is war, full stop. The conclusions are up to you.


DIRECTORS' STATEMENT

The war in Afghanistan has become highly politicized, but soldiers rarely take part in that discussion. Our intention was to capture the experience of combat, boredom and fear through the eyes of the soldiers themselves. Their lives were our lives: we did not sit down with their families, we did not interview Afghans, we did not explore geopolitical debates. Soldiers are living and fighting and dying at remote outposts in Afghanistan in conditions that few Americans back home can imagine. Their experiences are important to understand, regardless of one's political beliefs. Beliefs are a way to avoid looking at reality. This is reality.
- Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger

QOVF's INVOLVEMENT

Several volunteers from the Quilts of Valor Foundation were able to attend and/or present quilts at the screenings around the country for this amazing film. They believe it may be the best explanation of what 'Touched by War" really means.


It offers to families, communities, and support professionals the insight needed to understand what we demand from our military serving on the front lines.

RESTREPO WATCH IT INFORMATION:

"Restrepo" has its world television premiere on the National Geographic Channel, unedited and with limited commercial interruption, on Monday, November 29, 2010, at nine p.m. ET/PT. Please be advised It may not be suitable for all audiences so please use your own judgment.


Finally, let us continue to support the men and women still serving in harm's way who are in need of QOVs, and keep quilting until they are all covered with quilts of love and comfort.


Quilting to Honor & Comfort our Wounded,


June Moore
Acting Director
Quilts of Valor Foundation
june@QOVF.org

Monday, November 22, 2010

Help get QOVs to Warriors in Florida

Hello quilters from the Stars of Hope, North Carolina.

I have been working with local groups (Chapel Hill-Durham NC) to make quilts of valor for our servicemen and women. Through this effort, I was asked by Catherine Roberts almost 2 years ago to provide quilts for reservists returning from deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan. These are individual reservists, USMC and USN, who are called to active duty and deployed to augment active-duty personnel. When they return to the US, most return directly to their civilian life and have no military support group as they are not part of a reserve unit like the Army or National Guard. The Marines and the Navy, cognizant of the problems associated with deployment , plan 3 day weekend workshops for these returning warriors where facilitators and chaplains are available to offer services and hopefully prevent some of the long range problems associated deployment. While not the only area of concern, they focus on signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Many, but not all, of these returning warriors have purple hearts. But surely all have been affected by the trauma of war.
Well, this is where we enter the picture. The coordinators of these Returning Warrior Workshops (RWW) have been able to secure quilts of valor for all of the marines and sailors at several workshops. The quilts are presented at an Honor Banquet on the Saturday evening of the workshop. I have had the honor to assist the chaplains and coordinators in gathering the quilts. Needless to say it is not easy to meet the need for 80-100 quilts at one time. There are 3 RWWs for Marines coming up in the winter 2011. One is scheduled for Pensacola, January 28-30, 2011. I am asking the QOVF groups in Florida for help.

First, we need quilts (patriotic colors preferred but other neutral or darker tones appropriate). They should have labels and meet the minimum Quilts of Valor size (larger fine but not smaller).

Second, it would be great of one or two quilters living in Pensacola or close by could be the primary contacts and receive the quilts. They would be responsible for delivering the quilts to the hotel on the Saturday afternoon of the RWW (Jan29). This would save hundreds of dollars in shipping if quilts could go directly to Pensacola. I have numerous contacts and will continue to help gather the quilts needed but I would have them sent directly to the contact in Pensacola. The deal is-- that we have a quilts for every Marine attending the workshop or none can be presented. The ceremony is very touching and I am sure that 4-5 of you can attend the program and presentation part of the Honor Banquet. Kate Meyers (SE regional QofV coordinator) and I attended a workshop in Nashville, TN. It was very touching. The Marines were so grateful for the outpouring of support and love woven in the fabric of the quilts.
If we are fortunate and get more quilts than needed, Chaplain Shelly Scheibeler my contact, will save the extra quilts for St. Louis and National Harbor, MD for 2 Marine RWWs at those locations. I will be requesting help from QofV groups in those areas. Chaplain Shelly is great and gives an awesome presentation about Quilts of Valor Foundation at the banquet.

If you are willing to be the Florida contact or if you and your guilt can help provide quilts for these warriors please let me know. Call or email me for any questions.

Sue

--
Sue Wolf
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
919-923-3436 (C)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Notes From Down Range

Marine Corp Ball Speech 2010

West Palm Beach, FL

By: Cpl Blake M. Benson

First I would like to say thank you for letting me speak to you all tonight. This is by far one of the greatest honors ever in my life, Thank you!

Joining the Marine Corp has always been a dream of mine. This is thanks to my grandfather Sgt. Earl G. Piper United States Marine Corps. Shortly after the Korean War had ended, my Grandfather left the Marine Corps to work for Ford in Michigan where he retired. Even though my grandfather left the active fleet Marine Corps, he could never forget what they had taught him and continued to live his life with honor, courage and commitment. He would always be a Marine and uphold the values the come along with that title. This was my only experience with the Marine Corps throughout my childhood and it would have the greatest impact in my life still to this day. After joining the Marine Corps in his honor after his death I realized a lot of things that I had no clue about before.

The Marine Corps is not just an elite fighting force, it is a brotherhood based on tradition and loyalty to each other. Being a Marine is not something you can just turn on and off at will. It is who you are until the lord sees fit to bring you home. Being a Marine is representing more than just yourself but representing your country and every man and woman that is or has worn that Eagle Globe and Anchor. The Marine Corps is one place that everyone is equal no matter where you are from, your religion, ethnicity or your past. All of what makes you who you are before boot camp is slowly destroyed, so they can make you into the truly honorable people everyone sees today in these uniforms. As General Krulak once said, “For over 235 years our Corps has done two things for this great nation. We make Marines and we win battles.”

A great example of what the honorable General Krulak said can be seen with the Second Battle of Fallujah in 2004. I had the honor to serve in this battle with some of the most amazing men I have ever met. Men like Sgt. Wells, Cpl. Marku, LCpl. Holmes, and LCpl. Lucero just to name a few, may God bless them all, lord knows how myself and the rest of my fellow marines miss them. During the Battle of Fallujah my battalion lost 23 marines and had even more wounded, but we still managed to move forward and win the worst battle ever seen by an American force in Iraq. I was in Fallujah with the battalion from November 8th (when the battle kicked off) until November 25th (Thanksgiving Day). I was forced out of the city on Thanksgiving Day due to injuries I received after I and four other marines were ambushed. Even after I left the city the battle continued well in to the month of December. As one marine that served with me once said, “If Fallujah is not hell then it’s the next worse place imaginable.” This rings true still to this day in my opinion.

After leaving Iraq and going to Bethesda National Naval Medical Center I experienced things that would fill me with pride and things that would give most people nightmares. Seeing Marines missing arms and legs truly brings a new point of view on life. With the fresh memories of Fallujah on my mind I could not help but to want to go back and finish the fight with my guys. Unfortunately this was not in the cards for me to do. This fact that I would not see my brothers again til they got home made life even harder on me. This is where I owe my thanks to organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project. This organization did everything they could to welcome the wounded home and made sure we didn’t need anything with the help of other organizations and private donors. This was all surprising to us Marines seeing as how the only news we heard while overseas was how everyone opposed the war and the military involved in it. To know that people actually care about you and what you have done really made things easier on us all. I would like to take a moment and thank the Wounded Warrior Project for everything. Please keep up the amazing work you all have done.

After about a year and a half in the hospital it was decided I could not stay in the Marine Corps and I was medically retired with an Honorable Discharge at this point. This was extremely hard for me to take. I fought with the Marine Corps every step of the way, I called Generals, I offered to change my MOS to a non combat job, I even offered to go reservist. Nothing worked in my favor, so I left the Marine Corps on June 28th 2006. Now I had no job and no idea what I wanted to do with my life. The one thing I wanted to be didn’t want me anymore, I was damaged goods. (cont. from Newsletter:) So after a year of fighting for benefits and working a dead end factory job I decided I wanted to go back to school (something I swore I would never do after barely getting through high school). While in school and seeing how my friends where being tormented from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), I figured out where I belong, and where I could do the most good for my brothers in arms. I was going to be a mental health professional. To explain how I came to this decision I will use a quote from General William Thornson US Army, “There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: Marines and the enemy, everyone else has a second hand opinion.” I full heartedly agree with General Thornson on this statement and feel as if I would be the best man for the job when it comes to helping them when they get home with the mental scars of war.

Though I have not quite met this goal yet I am making significant strides to getting where I want to be. I will have my BA in Psychology come December from Wayne State University and I will be starting graduate school at Nova come January. These are the first two steps to being able to make the impact I want and I will not rest until I have accomplished my goals.

But enough about me and what I want to do, this is our birthday and we still have brothers and sisters overseas fighting. Let’s not forget the sacrifices that young men and women are still giving as we speak. These men and women continue to win every battle, and continue to move this country towards victory over a desperate enemy. The marines have always led from the front and will continue to do so. As 2nd Lt. Richard C. Kennard once said, “My only answer as to why the Marines get the toughest jobs is because the average Leatherneck is a much better fighter. He has far more guts, courage, and better officers… These boys out here have a pride in the Marine Corps and will fight to the end no matter what the cost.”

The Marine Corps has the richest and most noteworthy history out of any military in the world. We Marines have put fear in every enemy we have ever faced. Karen Aquilar once said while at the embassy in Somalia, “They told (us) to open up the Embassy, or “we’ll blow you away.” And then they looked up saw the Marines on the roof with these really big guns, and said in Somali “Igaralli ahow,” which means “Excuse me, I didn’t mean it, my mistake.”” This is just a small example of the legacy we have throughout the world. We have been called black boots by the Somalis, yellow legs by the communists in Korea, and Devil Dog by the Germans in World War One just to name a couple. As long as we keep making marines the world will always have something to fear. Rear Admiral Jay R. Stark said “Marines I see as two breeds, Rottweilers or Dobermans, because Marines come in two varieties, big and mean, or skinny and mean. They’re aggressive on the attack and tenacious on defense. They’ve got really short hair and they always go for the throat.” With this all being said Marines have always been the one thing every young man and woman have looked to be like.

“Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem.” President Reagan said this of the Corps. This stands true for all of us in this room. We have all raised our right hand and swore the oath to defend the Constitution, and that pride that comes from being the few can never be taken away from any of us. We are looked up to by everyone that has looked in from the outside. Presidents, Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard officers, Congressmen, Senators, and the average Joe on the street have all been in awe of the Marine Corps. I have never been prouder of my Corps. We have made the changes but still maintain who we are. You look at other branches of the military and they have made compromises that have cost them their identities, the Marine Corps has not and never will.

In closing, I would just like to thank Gunny Rob McKenna and the Wounded Warrior Project one more time for making this possible, and I would like to say to the rest of you Semper Fidelis Marines and Happy Birthday!!! Thank you!

***************

Submitted by Karen Fredrickson

Down Range, the words refer to those military men and women serving in a geographic area of conflict, a combat zone. I have asked three amazing women to write the Down Range columns the summer QOV newsletters. I hope that these columns will inform, educate, and personalize the experiences of military families.

Regional News for November

To contact your Regional Coordinator, please visit: http://www.qovf.org/content/regional-coordinators.html

***************

News From Region 6

Here you go - here are the photos from the latest WWII Honor Flight/QOV recipient

~ Tink Linhart

QUILT OF VALOR made for
T/Sgt. Arnold DeWitt
Serial No. 16155818
WWII 1942-1945
Army Air Corp.
Made By: Sharon DeWitt


***************

News from Region 7


Along with turning leaves and goblins, October was a good month for getting the word out about the Quilts of Valor Program in Arkansas, Lousiana, Missouri and Mississipi. Several internet quilting boards and quilters were contacted in each state.

A Quilt of Valor Foundation presentation was held to the White County Homemakers Council at Harding University.

The QOVF brochures were shared and people invited to our weekly sit and sew at the American Legion booth during Cabot Fest.

A quilt that was not quite the "right" size was presented to a veteran who was leaving the area. He had been an advocate for Veteran's rights for four years of his time in our town.

A certificate of appreciation for her diligent and excellent work on quilts of valor was presented to Judy Farmer of the Cabot Nimble Thimbles, upon her moving away party.

I'd like to hear more from quilters in Region 7, so feel free to e-mail me anytime at reg7@qovf.org.

~ Sharon Bailey

***************

News From Region 9

Hello Everyone,

It's so exciting to see Quilts of Valor highlighted today on the Norfolk/Virginia Beach ABC affiliate WVEC. Part one aired this morning and part two will air tomorrow on Veteran's Day when we meet Army Corporal Jonathan Bartlett who was the inspiration for the Tidewater Quilters Guild becoming involved with Quilts of Valor six years ago.

Jonathan received the very first Quilt of Valor and he's never known that we've been making quilts ever since. As of today the Tidewater Quilters Guild has sent 1,062 Quilts of Valor to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center ICU in Germany for presentation to America's most seriously battled wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Go to the link below to see the video filmed at my favorite quilt shop in Virginia Beach,
What's Your Stitch 'n Stuff.

Enjoy and watch for tomorrow's report.

This is the Veteran's Day airing of the second part of the WVEC Quilts of Valor news story that aired yesterday. In this one you get to meet the recipient of the first Tidewater Quilters Guild Quilt of Valor, Corporal Jonathan Bartlett U.S. Army (Retired) of Chesapeake, VA.

~Mary Lynn

***************

This story of two local Navy SEALs was on the front page of the paper this morning. See attached. As I was reading it I realized that I presented a QOV on behalf of The Tidewater Quilters Guild to LT Redman in his home October 31, 2007. The quilt photo is attached. Funny enough, his house is only about five minutes from mine.
When I met LT Redman he had just returned home to Virginia Beach from National Medical Center Bethesda for some convalescence leave. His jaw was still wired shut because of the bullet going through his face and knocking out some teeth and his right arm had an external device holding the bones together. He told me that while he was applying the tourniquet to his arm wound the shooter shot him in the face. LT Redman is one tough dude because he didn't die and as we read in the story he walked, with assistance, to the rescue helicopter.
He had to continue driving back to Bethesda for additional appointments with his plastic surgeon and the orthopedic surgeon. Portsmouth Naval Hospital here didn't have the expertise to treat, plus he wanted to continue with the physicians he started with. The orthopedic surgeon had once upon a time been a SEAL before attending medical school. Image the sea stories they have exchanged!
It was so great to read the story today and see that LT Redman is doing well and still on active duty. He was pretty worried about his arm when I saw him.


~Mary Lynn

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Notes from Region 10

Tops on my wish list as Regional Coordinator is the request that if you are involved in making QOVs on a regular basis, that you please sign up as a local group - even if you are a "group of one". I often ask people to sign up, but haven't always explained the reasons of why this is important. Longarmers- this applies to you too. I regularly get asked (by email or in person) if there are any groups of people making QOV's in their locale. They may want to work with a group, may have fabric to share, or may want to longarm an occasional quilt without the expense of shipping. I've also received requests for QOV's for particular events. Having local groups and longarmers to draw upon reduces the time and expense of shipping quilts.

Another timely topic is the fast-approaching holiday season. We'll have less time to work on QOV's, but the need for them doesn't take a holiday. Do you have red and white fabric left over from those Christmas placemats you're making that you can use for QOV's? Do you have any leftover blocks and cut pieces from earlier workshops? Can
you make a block or two while your cookies are baking? How about setting aside "Black Friday" as QOV Friday?


Barbara Chojnacki

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Help!


I have never made a request like this before; I am usually on the other end that sends quilts to fill a need.

I have a very short notice need/request. 100 QOVs by December 1st 2010. I just found out this morning.

I just learned of a group in my area that is made up of Veterans with PTSD, Traumatic brain injury, and some have cancer from exposure to chemical warfare. They are struggling with issues like "fitting back into normal life" many have night terrors and hyper sensitivity issues. Please help me cover this group of warriors suffering from these invisible wounds.

I have assured the director of this program that when there is a need the quilts will come.

They are having a banquet December 7th.

If you can help please contact me at Lori@QOVF.org , and I will give you the information of where to send the quilts.

Thank you for your dedication to our mission.

Lori Kutch
Wenatchee, WA
Deputy Director
QOVF







Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day 2010




Yesterday I got up early and hit the ground running. I hustled and bustled to get all my chores done and make preparations because this was going to be a very special day! My friend Debby and I were invited to attend two Veteran’s Day Assemblies and present Quilts of Valor. How exciting is that??

Our first stop was Eastmont Junior High. It is a huge school with a very large student body. There was a lot of activity and noise in the Gym as the students gathered for the Assembly. The student Master of Ceremonies took the microphone and announced the Veterans Day assembly would begin with the presentation of the colors. A stillness fell over the room. The only sound was the click of the shoes and abrupt commands of the color guard. The choir sang the national anthem. All of the students were on their feet with hands on their hearts. It was really quite touching. A short history of Veteran’s Day was read. and then the program continued. Staff members with children serving in the Armed forces were recognized, then Veterans from the School District were acknowledged, and finally three staff members were called up. Debby and I were honored to present Quilts of Valor to these three teachers. The students listened intently to the QOV story and then gave thunderous applause as their teachers were handed thequilts. The closing ceremony was the retiring of the colors and taps. It was a wonderful experience.

Our second presentation was Cascade Elementary School. It was fun to watch to students assemble, sort of like herding puppies. When the Principal stepped to the microphone and told the purposed of the gathering and the expectations the room fell quiet. The students recited the pledge of allegiance, read little verses pertinent to the day and sang patriotic songs. Then a little boy stood with pride as he spoke of his daddy and of his service to our country. When he finished his tribute he introduced his Daddy. Debby and I helped him present his father with a Quilt of Valor and the son threw his arms around his Dad’s Neck. We were so blessed to be able to share in that moment.

As we celebrate Veteran’s Day let’s keep in mind the commitment, and personal sacrifices those serving and have served have made. May they always be treated with honor and respect and know they have our gratitude.
Lori Kutch
Deputy Director
QOVF


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Catherine Roberts' Quilt Market 2010 Diary

Oct. 28
I left home, Anacortes WA for Seattle’s airport,SEATAC with plenty of time to spare. Usually I have to get up at 2AM to take the shuttle to arrive in time for all the necessary airport procedures. But this time, I drove...savoring the time in the car listening to the end of “The Good Earth” by Pearl Buck. I was looking forward to going to Houston for the launching of a new line of fabrics for QOVF by nine, 9, nueve fabric companies plus the launch of a brilliant program created by Marianne Fons called Under Our Wings. Marianne was overseeing the birth of UOWs program/new fabric lines. I was there in a familiar setting...delivering babies but now from a national program vantage point.

We had people in Houston area, Cynthia Chaffee and the two Karens who were very helpful in getting the items of our School House Session in order...like getting 400 bottles of water and putting UOW labels on each bottle, 400 granola bars along with emails from Marianne and myself. In addition to the Houston team, we had the services of some of the Stitch N’ Stuff owner/staff...Holly Ebert-Zuber, Sue ???, Sandra ??? and Kim???. They were responsible for the design and set-up for the UOWs booth which included bringing tons of suitcases packed with props and a visit to the Houston Ikea shop.

Got in late to the hotel and then had a late nite meeting with all the participants for UOW and Schoolhouse session led by Marianne. After the meeting, went to Sue and Sandra’s room and saw the UOW cookies, totes, water bottles. Was blown away by all the ground work that had gone on and was still going on. Plan...to meet Kim at 730am to help put together a couple of Ikea table/desk stuff for booth.

I fell into my bed and slept like a baby.

Oct. 29 Booth Set-up plus 2 Schoolhouse Sessions

The morning came too early especially for someone from PST. I made my way to Starbucks Coffee at the George Brown Convention Center (GBCC) before they were open. Got a table and an outlet to plug my laptop in. Two small double shot lattes later, the crew showed up. Marianne came with the UOW’s fan packet which took to our various vendors before she had to start her interviews for her Iowa PBS production.

Finally got to our booth...2022 where Kim was already assembling the Ikea desk.

We had already decided that we were the non-union assembly workers while Holly, our Alpha-booth-manager, was the set-designer.


Here is a pix of our Market Team minus Kim who had to leave early. Present left to right...Holly Erdei-Zuber, Marianne Fons, Sue Hoehring, Catherine Roberts and Sandra Fraenkel. Holly, Sue and Sandra presented Marianne and myself our own miniature QOVs of their QOV designed “With Gratitude” which will be available for “Official UOW’s Quilt Shops” with kitting instructions!

As we were setting up the booth, I quickly remembered how much work is involved. Like...did you remember to bring the cordless screw-driver, staples? Begging, borrowing and more borrowing is the name of the game. One of my jobs was to get various items which you think would be easy BUT think again. Everyone at Market is busy assembling THEIR own booths. Workers at the GBCC are unionized and they don’t cross lines. Oy vey.

Outside the GBCC, Cynthia and Karen were coming with lunch and their willingness to help

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Preview of American Valor Fabrics




Four of the nine fabric companies have posted their American Valor and Quilts of Valor fabric lines on their company pages: Marcus; Clothworks; Red Rooster; and Windham

Follow the links to see what they have in store for making QOVs. Links to Moda; Timeless Treasures; Andover; Quilting Treasures by Cranston; and P & B Textiles will be posted when they are available.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Meet Our New Longarm/Topper Coordinator

Hello! My name is Judie Yates. I am thrilled and honored to be a part of the Quilts of Valor Foundation team.

I have been a sewer since I was 13 when I bugged my mother to teach me to sew. I quickly advanced beyond what Mom knew and enrolled in my school’s Home Economics class. (That tells you a little bit about how old I am!) When I became a mother of two beautiful children, I continued to sew for my little ones but it wasn’t too long before they didn’t want “homemade” clothes so it was then that I got into quilting. At the time, we lived in a small town in the high desert of Southern California with one grocery store and a TG&Y (another reference to my age). Eleanor Burns came to town and gave a lecture at the junior college and I was hooked! With her log cabin book and my red, white and blue fabrics from the dime store, I taught myself by making two quilts for my son’s bunk beds. He’s 35 years old now and still owns one of those quilts today so I must have done something right.

In 2007, I bought my longarm machine and shortly thereafter volunteered with QOV and have loved every minute of it. The stories that have been shared along with the quilts that have been donated have touched me deeply. I can’t imagine not being involved with those who have given so much for me, my family and our country.

My husband and best friend for 31 years is my biggest supporter and, with his help, I hope to not only cover my family with love through my quilting but also to, in some small way, repay a portion of the sacrifices our soldiers and their families have made on our behalf.