Well, first off, let me introduce myself, I am Vixanna R also known as Vicki. I live in the small town of Winnebago, IL, population of about 3000. From our small town we have about 100 active duty serving in the military that graduated from our local high school. We are very proud of that. I also have a daughter that is serving in the United States Air Force. She is currently stationed at Eielson AFB, AK. She has served two deployments to Iraq.
I guess the other thing you get to know about me is that I am a quilt piecer and a long arm quilter. I am also privileged to be a Quilts of Valor presenter from time to time.
I did my first set of six quilts in 2009 and these were pieced by my former quilt club, Scrapbag Quilters of Davis, IL. I had a little difficulty finding who to take these to so I ended up with a shop that I deal with called Basketcases, in Clair, IL and she took them to Hines VA in Chicago. So I was feeling pretty good about myself and what I had done.
So some time passed and my daughter was sent on her second deployment of Iraq. This time in a phone call she told me about a wounded warrior that she was caring for who had received a quilt and it had been misplaced. He was very upset and she had to promise to find it in order to calm him down. From that point forward, I knew that these quilts were very important to our troops and that I must and I would be doing more. I hooked up with Rita P of Land of Lincoln Quilts of Valor, I could not tell you how I found her and I don’t think she remembers either, but the important things is I FOUND HER.
In January 2009 I got six quilts from her to quilt and bind. When I met her to return the quilts to her in March there were a couple of ladies that sewed together from the South Beloit, IL/Beloit, WI area there also and we got to talking that it would be nice if we could get a group together as it was a good two hour drive to get together with Rita. So the group began as the Beloit Ladies of the Land of Lincoln Quilts of Valor. We started with 5 ladies and now have between 10 and 15 ladies each month. We meet on the first Wednesday of the month from 9:30 a.m. to about 3 p.m. at the People’s Church in Beloit, WI. New members are always welcomed and you can find that information on Rita’s blog page for Land of Lincoln Quilts of Valor.
I have had the privilege of making several quilt presentations. The first one was in December 2010 and it was to the 485th Engineering Battalion returning from Kuwait and Iraq. Wow what a night, I did not want to speak in front of the group and asked that the speaker, a young Lieutenant tell them at the end of the evening to come to the commons area of the school to receive their quilts. Wow what a mistake, he was nervous and then last words I heard him speak were “DISMISSED. We did manage to get them all rounded up and the 123 quilts distributed but that cured me of stage fright. Rita then asked me to do a Returning Warrior Work Shop in Minneapolis, MN and you know they are right when they say if you speak about what you feel and believe you can do it. I really found out that this is indeed true. What a wonderful night, I think there were about 75 returning Navy reservists that received quilts. I have done few individual presentations also. I would guess all together that I have presented a little over 200 quilts. Since I love to make quilts I have made a few of the quilts that were presented but my duty is to primarily quilt for the group in Beloit. I have not been able to keep up so have had to hand off some of the quilts to Rita so that her large group of long armers can work their magic. I have made approximately 6 quilts but I have quilted 102 to date.
This year and since it is half over, my goal is to get the 20 quilts I have finished. Then I will start on a very special Quilts of Valor for my very special daughter, Major Katherine R, USAF. She is a nurse and it is time for her quilt to be started and completed. I do not want to be like the old shoemaker who always made shoes for others but his own children were barefoot. So I will take a little break and get her quilt done.
I totally believe in the mission of Quilts of Valor and I get the greatest pleasure out of wrapping a quilt around a young man or woman and telling them just how much we appreciate what they do for us and what a privilege it is to present them with a Quilt. I love the expressions on their faces and the humbleness with which they accept the quilt.