Friday, April 20, 2012

QOV in Montana

We know several of you are very curious as to what is happening with Quilts of Valor – Montana Chapter.   We have just completed four (yes – 4) years of presenting our military service members with quilts and /or pillowcases.  Here are several highlights from the past four (4) years.

-  We started with 15 men making blocks for the first quilt that was delivered to Walter Reed Hospital in 2008.  We have grown to the point where we have hundreds across the great State of Montana contributing blocks, quilt tops, completely finished quilts, specially designed labels, fabrics, thread, long arm quilting, sewing machines for our workshops and monetary donations for shipping and supplies.

- We had out grown the classroom at Quilts on Broadway in Belgrade, and the Armory (Readiness Center) near Belgrade has been unavailable so we moved to Gaub’s Garage (a three stall facility which is heated in the cool months and cooled in the warmer months).  We have had as many as 61 quilters coming and going over the two sew days every 4th Friday and Saturday from January through October.  PLUS our quilters (men and women) are stitching at their own homes or with groups locally at churches and quilt guilds/groups.  We have Cub Scouts working on quilts; high school students stitching a QOV for their community service project; businesses participating in a community service project; workshops with Montana National Guardsmen in Belgrade and Missoula stitching and signing their quilt blocks ; workshops at local churches and at the Holter Museum in Helena where 18 ladies stitched and signed blocks; another workshop in Helena where individuals were encouraged to make a block and sign them.

- We have presented our mission to quilt guilds, textile groups, PEO Chapters, homemakers clubs, church quilt groups, churches, quilt shops, individual quilters (men and women), Rotary Clubs, Kiwanis Clubs, the Daedalians, Veterans Appreciation Dinners/Luncheons, Veteran Service Organizations meetings, and have met individually with many Veteran Service personnel at Fort Harrison and Malmstrom Air Force Base.  We have displayed our quilts in the First Security Bank window in downtown Bozeman and Belgrade Intermediate School; and were featured at the Bozeman Quilt Show as well as the Fairfield, MT Quilt Show.  We participated the past two years with an entry in the Memorial Day Parade in Bozeman, and we have been featured in several statewide publications.

- Our first priority is to cover our Montana service members which we are focusing on at this time.  We have been honored to present 26 quilts to Montana service members, and are working with personnel at Fort Harrison (Helena) and Malmstrom Air Force Base (Great Falls) to deliver more to our “wounded warriors” and / or Purple Heart Awardees.  We delivered 40 quilts to the Glendive, MT Veterans Center and 78 patriotic pillowcases to the Miles City, MT Veterans Community Center.  Twenty five quilts have been delivered to the PTSD Recovery Care Clinic for our Montana soldiers at Fort Harrison, Montana.

- Each quilt has a specially designed label, a letter to the warrior and a Montana postcard which is stamped and addressed back to our Montana Chapter.  We certainly do not expect to receive any of the postcards as a thank you, but when we do it is very encouraging to keep on stitching knowing that our contribution is appreciated.

The following are a few of the most recent notes we have received:

“I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for all the work you do.  I am honored to have served fine folks such as yourself.  Also want to send a special thanks to C. L. for the beautiful quilt she made and made me feel more at home during my stay at the Ft. Harrison Hospital.  God Bless.”

Received via email:  “I was in Afghanistan and got wounded.  On my way home I received one of your valor quilts and I love it.  It says it’s from the Montana Chapter.  Thanks so much.”

“On behalf of my patient (19 yrs. old), he wants to thank you all and really appreciated the beautiful quilt, and he was using it in our hospital and on his flight going back to the states this Sunday.  And if you don’t heard from them, I want to let you know that our wounded warriors are all happy to have your hand made quilts.  Thank you.”

“Thank you very much for the quilt; just knowing folks like you care about us made all the difference in the world to us over there.  You will always be in my heart.  Thank you for caring.

“Thanks for doing this very nice quilt for me.  It is because of you that I did what I did and would again now if they would let me – “Freedom isn’t Free” – and you are paying us back with every stitch.  Thanks again – Bud”

“Thank you so much for the quilt.  It means a lot to me.”

“Thank you for sending such beautiful quilts for Wounded Warriors.  Amazing work from strangers to strangers, touching our hearts and meeting physical needs also.  You are what make America great.  Outpatient Soldier, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center – Germany”

“Thank you; you have put a smile on a vet’s face.  Keep up the good work.”

“Thank you so much for the time and effort in making my quilt.  I will use it during my stay at the VA and for many years at home.  I really appreciate your dedication to veterans.”

“Thank you very much for the great quilts.”

“Thank you so much for the quilt.  I was recently medevaced from the Middle East and finally returned home to continue further treatment.  Your quilt is amazing and I will always treasure it.  Thanks to people like you supporting us. It makes everything easier and brought a much needed smile to my face.  Thank you so much! (Sorry for the sloppy writing, just now getting that ability back. LOL.)

- We are sure we are forgetting something as so much has occurred over the past years, but we are so grateful for everyone who has participated in the many ways to get our quilts to our “warriors.”  Our mission continues, but as one Montana National Guardsman stated, “We hope to put you out of business.”  We do have a long ways to go before that happens so we keep on stitching.

We will be participating again in the Bozeman, Montana Memorial Day Parade.  Some of the men have been designing the entry so come and assist.  If you want to be a part of our entry, please contact Sheila Gaub at 406 / 586-6908 or 406 / 579-5051.  We have had a lot of fun the past two years – rain or shine!!!




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