** Just a little forwarning... you might need a tissue handy.... Just sayin' *
I was recently a speaker at the Golden Thimbles Quilt Guild in Conroe, TX. I issued a Challenge to the guild to sew for Quilts of Valor and gave the guild a red, white and blue quilt top (all cut and ready to sew) as a door prize to spark excitement. The president of the guild commented that she had already made two for members of her family but didn't elaborate. However, several days later, I received a Thank You letter from the president of the guild that included this poignant story.
(In her own words)...let me tell you the story of one, my Dad's Quilt of Valor: William R. B. Jr.
When my Daddy was going off to serve in the Army Air Corp in, as I remember 1941 or 1942, he was presented with the quilt I now call his Quilt of Valor. It was made by a lady who was a very dear friend who almost raised him in Montana. She made the blue quilt for him and she made another one for his brother Warren, as they were both enlisting at the same time and place.
Their quilts went with them through out their time from March Airfield Base in Southern California, then to San Francisco, then to Italy, Sicilly and France as he served his country. He was a mess sergeant in the midst of WWII. Thank God, no combat but he was near much war all around him.
I found an old messed up rag-tag quilt at the bottom of his closet a couple of years ago and I told him I'd try to resurrect this quilt for him. So, along came Quilts of Valor and that gave me the idea to re-present the quilt to him for his 90th birthday.... at Mom and Dad's 60th anniversary party in Fullterton, CA this past June.
I removed the backing as it had many, many holes in it, the binding, and what was left of the batting, which turned out was just a few bunches of big bunches! I washed the top gently for a week or so, and the top turned out pretty hardy....I fixed a few holes with my sewing machine...and put it back together with a Blue Indigo Batik, Better Cotton batting, and quilted it myself on my home Janome machine. It was beautiful and oh, so soft and warm for my sweet Daddy!
I have explained to over 100 people about Quilts of Valor and that my Daddy received his WWII Quilt of Valor long before there was such a program.
The other QOV that I made and presented was to my niece Allison's husband, Corporal Zack M., who had just returned from his third deployment to Afghanistan.
It's too bad that our boys, our husbands who served in Vietnam, didn't get the respect that the men and women are receiving today. But, as the Director of Piecemakers at my church, Mims Baptist Church of Conroe, I make sure that the quilts we give out are given to Vietnam veterans. They receive a quilt much like QOV designs.
Update: The ladies have accepted the challenge to sew for QOV from August through November, 2012 and their plans are to give them to me at the Houston International Quilt Festival, if possible. The NWHOUQOV group will be staffing a booth at Festival again this year.
Regional Coordinator Region 4
Proudly sewing for Quilts of Valor