40 Quilts of Valor quilts given to the National Quilts of Valor Foundation on September 3, 2011 in a formal presentation at the Nebraska State Fair. This is the first year of a two year Nebraska 4-H Quilts of Valor Challenge where youth are being challenged to make quilts for U.S. soldiers who have been “touched by war.”
Stuart Shepherd, Director of the Nebraska 4-H Foundation hosted the event. Jana Kruger, Chair of the Nebraska State Fair Board welcomed the group to the State Fair presentation.
Approximately 20 4-H youth were present for the event and were acknowledged as their quilts were shown to the audience who gathered in the 4-H/FFA Exhibit building.
QOVF Regional Coordinators, Sara Kenny and Julia Schroeder accepted the quilts and stated that the 4-H quilts would be given to the Nebraska National Guard. Sara said, “I would like to tell you that we don't need 40 quilts for wounded soldiers, but we do.”
This 4-H Challenge allowed 4-Hers to give back to their country by donating quilts. Many 4-Hers wrote stories to be included with the quilt. Leon says;”I am 11 years old and made this quilt when I found out it would be given to a soldier. I decided that it was only fair that I could do something so small after they gave so much for us.” Arleigh says, “In honor of your serving our country, I would like to share this quilt with you. There is No Thanks required – it „s thanks enough to make it for a person with such courage and bravery.”
4-H volunteer Carol says “I didn‟t know if inexperienced sewers could do this project ...I was astounded by what a small, young group could do! We should all be inspired by the people around us whether it is a 4-H group or a person who has given up so much for their country and the people in it. We pray that this quilt and the hands that have touched it will bring you warmth, comfort and peace! Thank you for keeping us free and safe. May God bless you and keep you always.”
4-Hers received all kinds of support for their community service effort. The Nebraska State Quilt Guild and the Nebraska Independent Fabric Stores helped to
spread the word about the 4-H Quilts of Valor Challenge. People and organizations in local communities donated fabric, money, long-arm quilting and volunteering time to help youngsters make quilts.
Six national fabric manufacturers have each “adopted 11 Nebraska counties” by donating 4 yards of fabric to make a quilt top, resulting in 44 yards of fabric donated by each company. This will help 4-Hers who may not be able to afford the fabric (which averages $10.00 a yard) still be able to make a Quilt of Valor. Most of the free fabric will be sewn into quilts in 2012 and donated at next year‟s State Fair.
In October 2011, Nebraska Extension staff will promote this state-wide Challenge to other Extension staff across the nation at the National Association of 4-H Extension Agents Conference in Omaha. The Nebraska 4-H Foundation, QOV Foundation Regional Coordinators and UNL Extension Educators will be at the Omaha Conference to build enthusiasm for this project.