Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Gulf Coast Honors Returning Marines

   QOVF quilters across the country provided the 80 quilts presented at a USMC Returning Warrior Workshop January 28-30 in Pensacola, Florida.  The event provided topics designed to help the attending Reserve Marines reintegrate with their families and local communities.

   At the Saturday Banquet of Honor, they received awards from the Marine Corps and then were gifted with the beautiful patriotic quilts that had been hidden at the back of the room.  The response to this surprise was an awesome experience as well for the four local quilters who attended as representatives of all the contributing quilters.
   "Their first reaction was an astounding 'This is for us?  WOW!'," said Roberta Speh of Foley, Alabama.  "Then they gave the quilters a standing ovation.  Later we all received many hugs and individual thanks."

"They are all so young to have seen so much," commented Ginger Maddox who brought fellow quilters Lynette Caulkins and Kim Colpitts from the Flying Needles Quilt Guild of Niceville, Florida.  "The recipients appreciated the amount of work in the quilts and were pleased to be able to thank us in person."

   The four women agreed it was a blessing to be there.  Maddox had also volunteered to serve as the collection point for the majority of the quilts while Speh collected quilts from Mobile and Pensacola.  Once again, the QOVF quilting community showed its continued support for our military servicemenbers who sacrifice so much and for their families who also sacrifice much during deployments.

   Returning Warrior Workshops(RWW) are an ongoing effort hosted by the Navy and Marine Corps.  Sue Wolf of North Carolina is the quilt organizer for many of these.  She maintains a list of volunteers that she calls upon when notified by CDR Shelly Scheibeler, a Navy chaplain assigned to the Marine Corps and RWW coordinator.
   "The quilts are awesome," said Wolf.  "I call them Stars of Hope."

   "It is overwhelmingly powerful to see the sheer delight of the Marines when they receive the quilts," stated Chaplain Scheibeler.  "But the capstone that always brings tears to my eyes is how the Warriors and Families treat the quilters as heroes when they find they are secretly sitting amidst them in the dinner.  Marines are tough, but having the quilters present makes them melt as they so appreciate the phenomenal gifts they have received."

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