Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Spokane Returning Warriors Weekend
*Spokane, WA Returning Warriors Weekend
March 10, 2012
There are a few events in your life that are life changing. March 10,
2012 was one of them for me. Due to a huge effort, we were able to acquire
44 QOV's for the Returning Warrior Weekend. We had one week to round up
the quilts and have them in place for presentation.
The dinner and Awards Banquet was deeply emotional. I wish everyone could
have the opportunity to be a part of one of these ceremonies. It is
Warriors helping Warriors. It is looking at the service to our country
from the Warriors point of view. What a privilege and feeling of walking
on "Sacred Ground" in that room.
Heather asked if I would choose one quilt for presentation during my
address to the group. It was our chance to share the meaning of a Quilt of
Valor from our point of view. As I was sticky rolling the quilts, readying
them for presentation, an envelope and letter popped into view - obviously
written by a "young" person. I opened the letter and read it - choking
with pride - Brianna M, age 11 from Ephrata, WA had made her "first
quilt. THIS was the quilt I wanted presented.
When the time came to cal our Warrior to the stage, I asked him if I might
share "His" letter from Brianna to the audience. It started - "Dear
soldier" - she said this was her "first Quilt of Valor but it is not going
to be my last". She said her Grandpa served in the "Correin War" and he
had died in 2009. She said she really missed him. AND THEN SHE SAID,
"Would you write me back?" Not a dry eye in the house! From the mouths of
babes is simplicity and love. He said he would. You see, he also has an
11 year old daughter. She has had a very difficult time with her dad being
deployed. I think this pairing was made in heaven.
I told the recipients, when they came forward to choose and receive their
QOV, there was one Non-negotiable event that would take place. There would
be a hug. I told them the hug was coming from me and also from each of
you, a thank you and a welcome home soldier. And then I said something
pretty stupid! I told them I wouldn't break so I expected them to lay the
best hug they had on me. Well, some took me at my word! There must have
been a couple of bruises - but boy was it worth it!! Of the 30 recipients,
6 were women. There were some gentle hugs and then there were some bear
hugs. There were short hugs and the hugs that just couldn't let go.
To all in the Quilts of Valor community, young and old alike, please accept
YOUR thank you from all of the persons present at the event. I have
attached a Certificate of Appreciation form Captain Carl J. Grim,
Commander, Navy Region Northwest, Reserve Component Command. It expresses
their gratitude and the importance of the Quilts of Valor Foundation.
Following presentation, we asked the Warriors to drape their quilts and
have pictures. I was pleased to accept their invitation, on behalf of all
QOV Quilters, to be a part of their group picture.
JPG 192 - is Jason accepting his quilt and letter made by Brianna
JPG 199 - the screen set as each warrior came forward for his hug and
JPG 220 - group photo
Below is a note from Heather to the QOV community.
I hope everything is going well and that this weekend goes well for your
Here are the other photos, from the actual Banquet of Honor/QOV Ceremony.
I have been reading the feedback from the RWW and so many service-members
and their guests said it was the highlight of the weekend to be recognized
this way! You all made this such an incredible event and I want you to
know it meant the world to them and to me for getting to work with you
all! I'm looking forward to the next RWW!!
Have a great weekend!
Submitted by Sharon L