Thursday, December 26, 2013

Most Honored

From Lincoln, Nebraska

We seldom receive acknowledgements from the recipients of our Quilts of Valor, and that is perfectly fine. We make them to comfort our vets not for personal recognition. However, Amy shared this photo of her presentation to her husband's uncle Arlen, who served in Vietnam. The QOV was a combination of signature blocks and anniversary blocks.

This is the heartwarming response she received and shared with us:
"Thank you, thank you, thank you for your wonderful work on the quilt for my brother. It brought tears to everyone's eyes. My brother never shows a lot of emotion but this was probably the most honored he has felt since he left Vietnam since they were never honored when they returned. Thank you again. You deserve a special reward for all the hard work you do for so many vets."

Monday, December 23, 2013

Just In Time for the Holidays!


Last Sunday there was a long article about a soldier who was seriously injured in Afghanistan and lost 4 of his buddies at the same time.  His story, treatment, and slow recovery was documented in a long story in the Tacoma paper.  I was drawn to the story and wondered if he had received a QOV.  I emailed the writer of the story and he got back to me immediately and said that he would contact the soldier and find out.  

On Thursday, I got an email from the wife saying that David had not received a QOV and he would love to receive one.  So, we met them at a McDonalds in Lakewood and gave them my last finished QOV.  I really felt moved to see if this was possible, but I never dreamed it would happen so quickly.  

Now I will have to get started on a couple more QOV’s because it is so nice to have a finished one on hand when the need arises.

Merry Christmas. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Exemplary Soldier

On December 1, 2013, I awarded a Quilt of Valor to Colonel James F. Glynn, USMC. Col. Glynn is stationed in Washington D.C., and is the Senior Aide to the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps.  He accompanied the General and had just returned from a trip to Afghanistan where they visited with the troops over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Col. Glynn has served in a variety of command and staff billets in the US and overseas. He was a rifle platoon commander throughout  Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm. He served in Fallujah with the Marine Expeditionary Units, and returned to Iraq as Battalion Commander in 2006-07.  His personal decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, just to name a few.

This is an exemplary soldier, who continues to serve his country. A quilt is a small acknowledgment of appreciation to these military members who have given up so much for our country.  It was an honor to visit with Col. Glynn. He was somewhat familiar with Quilts of Valor and was so gracious to receive his own. His brother, Kevin, stood in as proxy as I did the presentation via a Skype type chat from Texas to Virginia. 

The quilt design is an adaptation of "Celebration of Freedom," designed by Judy Laquidara.

Submitted by Cheryl Kupcinski



Honored and overwhelmed was Bryan’s response to a mystery box delivered by UPS. Upon opening he found a quilt and a letter –  A Quilt of Valor.

“Yes! I was overwhelmed with unaccustomed feelings.” said Bryan.

The quilt was made by Angie Smith as part of the nationwide Quilt of Valor Foundation. Mrs. Smith said in her accompanying letter that, “this one is, Stars in the Cabin. I found this pattern in a catalog and like the concept.” Her husband (career Navy) served on the USS Midway during Vietnam.

Bryan has since been in contact with Mrs. Smith to thank her. He sent her this picture, taken in front of some second growth redwoods that conceal a 2 story barn that was built of Old Growth Redwood in 1920.

Mrs. Smith wanted to enlist in the Marines during the Vietnam conflict but was talked out of it by family. She still has that spirit. Her Dad served in the Marines in the South Pacific during World War II, and an uncle served in the Army in Europe during that same war.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Quilts of Valor Foundation, we invite you to check out their website.  Mrs. Smith says during her time making and sending the quilts that Bryan was only the 2nd recipient to contact her.

“I don’t know why that is but I know it took me a bit to settle and respond.”

Chapter 89, Special Forces Association

Monday, November 18, 2013


 Harold Roberts, at center, received his Quilt of Valor as part of a church service. Pictured from left are his daughter Carolyn Miles, wife Doris Roberts, pastor Fr. Breen, son-in-law Dan Miles, and St. Leonard’s Parish Council Member Anne Dugan.

By Barbara Conner

As Individual Request Coordinator, my biggest challenge is finding local volunteers to award requested quilts—our recipients deserve a hand-delivered award, not a quilt arriving in a box!

I breathe a sigh of relief when I can forward a special request to a State Coordinator. Occasionally, though, there is no SC, so I’ve become creative. If, like me, you need to coordinate a presentation that is a great distance from you, here are some suggestions:

--Contact your local VFW or American Legion.

--Consider the local sheriff or mayor, especially in small towns. Sheriff Patrick Boggs of Maysville, Kentucky, felt honored to make an award. As a member of the Kentucky Sheriff’s Association, he offered help with the whole state!  Many law officers have had previous military careers. Check with the recipient’s family to see if they know any of these local officials.

--Ask the recipient if his or her pastor or priest might make the award. A Quilt of Valor presented after a service or Mass allows the entire congregation to witness the recipient’s honor. Many military chaplains have helped us award QOVs.

--Identify local QOVF groups from our home page. One of our volunteers may live in the recipient’s hometown or neighborhood.

--Don’t forget the veteran who has already been awarded a Quilt of Valor. He or she might be the most appropriate awarder of all.

Please, present a Quilt of Valor “outside the box,” not in one!

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Chance to Talk to Others

Today we held our first ever Veterans Day sew-in and presentation at Fasturn, our UOW quilt shop between Medford & Jacksonville. It worked out really well. About 20 quilters came for the whole day and we presented five combat veterans with quilts that they chose from the quilts we had displayed in the quilt shop for the day. Four young men who had served in Iraq and one in Vietnam. A relatively unexpected benefit was the opportunity for the recipients to talk to each other about their experiences.

Monday, November 11, 2013

This Is The First I've Been Thanked For What I Did...

What a wonderful, emotional week.  This year to coincide with Veterans Day, the Vietnam Moving Wall is in town.  One can see it's both a great day and a sad day for some.  Our Vietnam Veterans are still healing.  Heard just last night again, "this is the first I've been thanked for what I did".  Oh, I hope they feel America has it right now.  We need to keep thanking and thanking our Veterans.

Friday, I had the biggest high for me personally.  I presented my Uncle with his much deserved Quilt of Valor.  My uncle was part of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings as a flight engineer.  He few over the two cities prior to both bombings.  His plane was the Yokohama Yo-Yo.  They also few in almost immediately after the bombs were dropped.  It's a generation where they just held it all wonder!  Thank you, Uncle Reuben...and Aunt Marianne---she is our pillowcase, pincushion maker and log cabin/flag pin maker!

Friday night we attended a Gala event by Presence (formerly known as Provena Hospital).  It was their annual fundraiser and this year their theme was for the Veterans.  They honored two WWII veterans Joe and Helen R.
  What a nice couple and their family!

Saturday morning I had the honor of presenting a quilt to Bud F.  Bud's request  was a result of the TV segment by Brian Williams a few weeks ago.   This Marine did his tour of duty in Vietnam.  You can see the Vietnam Moving Wall in the background.  Bud, there, wrapped in his quilt, was there reading the names of the Fallen.  They had the names read 24/7.  His remarks sent to me were:

"Wow.  I am sooooo happy with my quilt.  I sincerely appreciate receiving it and will cherish it always.  Thank you so much.   And thanks for meeting me on this cold cold morning. 
If your husband has any pictures to share, I would love to see them.
Thanks again ---  this is great !

Saturday afternoon, we had a very successful sew-in in Winfield AGAIN!  Thank you Marilyn for "working" the block(s) and all who attended.  I just can't get over how many strips we used.  Thank you Stephanie G---Stephanie, from Quilters Haven came with her HQ Sweet Sixteen and quilted some tops!  Gotta love my machine quilters!  So, thank you, Kelly and St. John the Baptist Church for yet another successful sew in...they keep getting bigger.  Last I heard we had more than enough for one quilt.  We also had a presentation to a WWII Veteran (another request from the TV segment, Making a Difference. Lieutenant Colonel (Army) Richard V,  served in WWII in the Battle of the Bulge receiving the British Military Medal, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Battle of Central Europe and TWO Purple Hearts.  WHAT A HERO!!  Thank you, Richard, for your service.

What a great family presence.  

Saturday afternoon, Jane and Priscilla joined me at Holy Angels Church and we presented 6 quilts to more Veterans.

What a very rewarding day.  I've said over and over...ya wonder who gets more out of it!!!
More tomorrow.

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Great Honor

Veteran Ashleigh Powell (R) admires her quilt given by the Ladies of Valor of Wake Forest ( from Left) Marian Wyma, Donna Pernell, and Martha Killian, at the Durham VA Medical Center. The Herald-Sun | Bernard Thomas

Jasper McNeill Jr. served in the Army during the Vietnam era, when he was tasked with bringing the bodies of friends back home.
It was a rough time, he says, that left him battling post-traumatic stress disorder well after leaving the military. He was homeless for more than two years in Durham, moving from shelter to shelter, until the Durham VA helped him find permanent housing.
Thursday afternoon, McNeill, 53, stood with a handmade quilt wrapped around his shoulders in the Durham VA Medical Center chapel. A group of volunteers, the Ladies of Valor of Wake Forest, created the blankets as part of the national Quilts of Valor Foundation, which recognizes veterans who have been touched by combat.
As the Ladies of Valor unfolded quilt after quilt and presented them to the small group of formerly homeless veterans in the pews, people gasped at their intricate piecing. There were pinwheel patterns, American flag fabrics and swirled stitches done by hand.
“This is just a great honor for me,” McNeill said, grasping his quilt after the ceremony. “It’s going right on my bed.”
Durham has become the pilot location for the Quilts of Valor expansion into serving formerly homeless veterans who’ve experienced war. The veterans are all part of HUD-VASH, the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing case management program, which helps veterans transition into permanent housing, find employment opportunities and get back on their feet.
 Read more at the Herald Sun....

Tiffany Bryant admires her quilt given by the Wake Forest Ladies of Valor at the Durham VA Medical Center.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013



U.S. Army Ranger Cpl. Josh Hargis is pictured saluting his commanding officer
after being presented a Purple Heart medal.

This photo says it all.
And it spoke to QOVF members and the world.

Brian Williams featured QOVF and this dedicated Army Ranger on Making A Difference
Watch the Video with Brian Williams on NBC NIGHTLY NEWS

From our Director, Susan Gordon
Our thanks to all of you who are honoring and comforting our combat service members and veterans by sewing Quilts of Valor.  Everyone can participate and make a difference.  We need your help:  sewing if you sew, quilting if you quilt, providing financial support to our quilters and our foundation.  
We are an all volunteer organization, and donations made payable to Quilts of Valor Foundation are tax deductible.


Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Monday, October 21, 2013

Why I Am A Quilting Rookie of the YEAR

Introducing Daryl Brandt Quilting Rookie
Daryl D. Brandt a disabled Marine Corps veteran started quilting in January. The 53-year-old male started quilting during his recovery from a knee replacement done at the Iowa City VA hospital. His mother, Dolores, or Dee, as most people call her, has been quilting for over 40 years. She had a few UFOs - unfinished objects laying around. Since recovering from any major surgery is a long and boring process Daryl decided to help her finish up some of her UFOs. By the time they finished 20 unfinished objects Daryl was ready to make his own quilt. Not just any quilt - but a quilt made out of his own military uniforms.

Daryl D. Brandt and HIS Quilt
I've been asking my mother to make my quilt for over 30 years, but we could never find the pattern for that quilt so I made my own pattern. I disassembled 2 camouflage tops and two sateen tops. I saved the pockets, collars, sleeves and even the leg ties so I could cut them up and sew them back together to make MY quilt. When I finished I had a beautiful quilt made from my military uniforms. Uniforms I had used for 25+ years doing tree trimming and tree removal. This way I hope to get another 25+ years of use out of them.
The Quilting Rookie of the Year Award...
I think these are pretty good reasons to become the rookie of the year.
Points for being quilting's rookie of the year.
1. I helped my mother finish over 30 unfinished objects this year.

2. I received a lap quilt at the VA hospital. I have finished and donated 2 twin size quilts back to the VA hospital.

3. I have 6 more quilt tops finished to donate as Quilts of Valor.

4. I helped sew pajama bottoms with my mother and the ladies auxiliary from the Oelwein Legion for our soldiers and veterans.

5. I also helped sew ditty bags for other veterans and soldiers.

6. I designed and made my own Quilts of Valor.

7. I designed my own quilt panels for my own Quilts of Valor.

8. I have incorporated one of those quilt panels into a Quilt in Honor.

9. At the Quilts in Honor debut show in Des Moines Iowa I showed my military uniform quilt in the Quilts in Honor booth. Watch the YouTube Video

10.I would have showed my other two quilt that I designed but they were not quilted yet.

11. I did show them to the people at the show from Operation Homefront, AmericanQuilters Society, Quilts of Valor and Quilts in Honor. I decided from their input to donate one of my own Quilts, so they could place it with 50 of the top quilters quilts. These quilts will tour around the country in 18 shows to raise money for Operation Homefront.

 Sincerely yours
Daryl D Brandt
Rookie quilter of the year.
P. S. There may not be a rookie of the year now. But somebody has to be the 1st.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Day To Remember

On September 8, 2013, at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in White River, Vermont, my Dad (Conception Conti) was awarded a Quilt of Valor.   

I want to relay to your team how much this meant to him, and his family. Dad is 92 years old and still relives his days in the War;” memories that can’t be erased from his mind (both the good and the bad).   

This is an incredibly thoughtful program and the ceremony at the VA Facility was very well done. The Rolling Thunder folks met us at the driveway, parked our car and provided escorts and wheel chairs for both of my parents.  WOW, I was stressing about how I was going to get both of them from the parking lot into the facility.  Once inside the team waited on them like royalty; which was especially great for my socially needy father.  And the quilts were all very beautiful; clearly works of love. My parents have their quilt displayed proudly in the living room and not one visitor is spared the viewing and story of this exceptional event  :-)

Although we have no idea who made it, they will always remain special in the memory of our family.  This quilt will be passed down to the younger generation.

Please express our appreciation to the QOV team for their loving work.   

Monday, October 14, 2013

Take A Moment - Alaska Veterans and Pioneer Home

I just wanted to take a moment and give thanks to all those that helped provide quilts to both veteran staff and residents here at the Alaska Veterans and Pioneer Home. As a recipient of a quilt myself, I can personally share my gratitude for the honor and recognition given.

Thank you for the work each of you do in supporting and recognizing our nations veterans. All the hard work and effort is greatly appreciated.

David Williams, CDM, CFPP
Food Service Foreman
Ak Veterans & Pioneer's Home

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Captured His Heart

Even Hollywood can't compete with this. 
WWII, Marine Combat Veteran - In Iwo Jima, on the way up the mountain as the flag was being raised, he paused just long enough to see it cast its shadow across the island. An island that would take 36 days to capture, at the cost of 26,000 casualties, 6,800 deaths. 
Bronze Star recipient - wounded, he was treated at Bethesda, before returning to combat. He met a Navy Nurse and the sparks flew. When he was asked by 13 News what were his most memorable moments during the war, he talked about her writing him everyday, and they weren't even married...but he knew she had 'hurt' him...'captured his heart.' 
They married after the war in February 1946. He will turn 93 next week and she 92...she said she married a much older man. 
I am blessed to be the presenter of these Awards, but the comfort and healing comes from the hearts, and through the hands, of QOV Quilters. And I am deeply indebted to you all for this privilege.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


I am the daughter of Robert Davis, and the niece of Buzz Davis, both received a quilt of valor quilt on August 27th.

My dad asked me if I could somehow relay their thanks and their gratitude to you all and your team…   My dad doesn't type very much and has a hard time writing, and my uncle Buzz doesn't know who to write to… So I am writing a thank you letter for both of them. Neither one expected what they received. They were both very shocked and very pleased with their quilts. They both commented about all the hours and hours that they know went into the making of those quilts. After you left my dad just sat there and kept rubbing the quilt, you could tell that he was really thinking about what that quilt represented. My uncle Buzz was still in shock about receiving his quilt. He figured it would have been for my husband who retired from the Army after 20 years.

I myself, think it is awesome what you all do, and what your quilts represent. You can tell the dedication in what you do and all of the love that goes into each one of those quilts. I was honored to have been able to be there and see both my dad and my uncle get recognized for their service and sacrifice they made so many years ago for our country.

I know that both my dad and my uncle want to thank everyone who has a role in producing these quilts, for their time, for their talent and for their dedication. Please let them know that we realize the impact that their quilts have on the receivers of their quilts firsthand!!! 

Thank you and may God bless each and every one of you!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association's Third Annual Poker Run

It was another great day...they just keep coming. Elaine and I set up a QOV display with a couple of machines and had attendees stop and sew some blocks. Yes even I sewed a few...I'll stick with my 'power tool' thank you very much.

This was all part of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association's Third Annual Poker Run. The recipient of this year’s fundraising was Cedar Grove...the apartment complex for disabled veterans.

We had some experienced sewers stop by and one brand new convert. This young lady just made Elaine's day. As Elaine was packing up to leave the little girl came running over to give her a hug and thank her for helping her sew...she had never sewn before. Next generation of QOVF is going to be in good hands.

We were quite busy, explaining the Request Process, the QOVF Story, what goes into a QOV and turning down numerous requests to buy a quilt. We had one woman from Germany that almost broke into tears because she couldn't buy one to take home for her military son in Germany. Yes I was the luckiest of all.

This year’s event was in remembrance of the Bombing of Beirut in 1983 that killed 241 Americans and over 200 United States Marines. In attendance were four Marine survivors of that bombing, Marines that survived the attack and were left with the task of gathering, identifying and putting their friends and comrades remains in body bags. One, a Vietnam Combat Veteran already, was only thirty minutes from a total different circumstance. He grudgingly got up; quickly showered and headed off to the building next door...he had the Sunday Command Duty. His bunk was impaled with metal and building debris...he would have surely been killed...where he had been asleep 35 minutes before the bomb was detonated. Three of the four would go on to see other combat duties in places like Kuwait and Iraq. The fourth...a very lucky Major would retire several years later...He has told me several times he never begrudged any duty again.

Because of time constraints at the event, everything was behind schedule, like who knew nearly four hundred riders would show up, we didn't have the opportunity to unfold the quilts for review...but I know four more very happy veterans who were still thanking me as we were leaving. Did I have a good day or what???

Visit 'We Quilt Together's' blog

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

4H - Nebraska State Fair - QOV EVENT

Photos from the 4-H QOV event at the Nebraska State Fair, 2013.  Nebraska 4-H kids made just over 60 QOVs this year!  A couple of the quilts have been selected to show in one of the galleries on the UNL campus for a few months but eventually, we will receive all of the QOVs and will begin distributing them. 

Submitted by:
Sara Kenny
Central Midwest Region Coordinator (NE, IA, KS)
Quilts of Valor Foundation

Monday, September 16, 2013

Tennessee the VOLUNTEER state

What a whirlwind!

My wife and I have spent our 15 hours this week doing about 70 hours of QOV.

After a great presentation at the Legacy Peers group, I went to Bristol to award a quilt to a Veteran of Desert Storm at the request of our Virginia Coordinator.  On the way back, I met with the Greene County Quilters.  I learned they have been making several quilts for the VA Hospital in Mountain Home, Tennessee, and none of them had been reported.  Fortunately they had kept good records, so together we reported over 70 quilts not previously recorded.

It has really been fun sitting here at the Tennessee Valley Fair.  (Did I say sitting?  Our feet are tired from all the standing). We have been here just four days, and already have signed up 35 volunteers that are wanting to sew for us.  We still haven't signed up any longarmers, but there are still 6 days left.

We have been approached by two local television Stations that want to do a story on QOV.   A Radio talk show host wants me to be on his call-in show to tell about Quilts of Valor. A Senior Center Director who is a Korean Vet tells me that the center has a nice sewing room and a longarm machine, and several people that want to sew, but they don't have a project.  I said, "Well, I've got the perfect project for you."  I am going there after the fair to get them excited about Quilts of Valor.  My wife will be showing them how to use the longarm machine, because no one knows how it works.

There are three separate church groups that have an organized sewing group that have asked me to speak to them about QOVF.  Two quilt guilds I didn't know existed want me to speak to their guild members.  And the Legioneers in North Knoxville want me to make a presentation and speak to their members.  This has truly been a whirlwind activity.  There are still six days to go.  I am going to have to make more handouts as I have practically exhausted what I thought would be plenty for the 10 days.  This is probably the most fun I have ever had.

On the Monday following the Fair, I will be speaking to the Lion's club awarding 2 more quilts. They have promised a donation.  On October 12th I have been invited to the Navy Ball to award 14 quilts and the next week to Dixson Tennessee to award another 21 quilts to Ft Campbell troops at their retreat.  Just like the Timex watch or Battery bunny, it just keeps going and going

It is fun to be in Tennessee the VOLUNTEER state.  Folks here really do live up to that reputation.

Thanks to all of you for the hard work you do to honor the true heroes of this great country.

Dennis Taylor
QOVF Coordinator for Tennessee

Deserving Soldiers of Idaho Army National Guard

On September 4, 2013, four deserving soldiers of the Idaho Army National Guard, 168th GSAB, were presented with Quilts of Valor at Gowen Air Field in Boise, Idaho. They are 1LT Jedidiah Stewart, CW2 Pat Noa, SPC Zane Brown, and SGT Sterling Reece. Their pilot in command, CW2 Tony Weston, received his QOV at an earlier date.
Pictured are Teri Devine, who presented the quilts, and Jedidiah Stewart.
Tony Weston presented Teri Devine with an American Flag flown by A Co. 1-168 GSAB in Afghanistan, also at an earlier time.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Roger Lemons was honored by the Lewiston, ID. Marine Corps League this past Monday, Sept 2.  Roger is now in Hospice care. He is a Vietnam Veteran who served with the Marine Corps.  Six members of the League, in dress uniform, escorted me to his home to award his Quilt of Valor. 

He was tickled to learn the pattern of his quilt is
 "Step Up to Freedom". 
 He said it was a most fitting pattern for him. 

He asked me to convey his thanks to everyone who works honoring and comforting those who serve.  I, of course, shared a BIG hug with him from all of you.  LOL - I gave him another when we left.  I told him it was his "lucky day".  Truth be told it was "MY" lucky day! 

QOVF From Community Quilters

From Lincoln, Nebraska.

Lester, pictured with his wife, visited the IQSCM, today. He was surprised by being presented with a Quilt of Valor from one of our community quilters. He says he is extremely proud to have served our nation during the Cuban missile crisis. 

He also enjoyed the museum exhibits as well as visiting with the community quilters and spinners in the reception hall. He encourages anyone passing through Lincoln to pay a visit.
International Quilt Study Center & Museum - Facebook Page

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Joshua Edward Owings receives QOVF quilt

From left to right
Teri Devine, Alene Fischer (Josuha's grandmother)
and Joshua.

Joshua Edward Owings receives QOVF quilt
On June 26, 2013, Sgt Joshua E. Owings was honored by the Quilts of Valor Foundation and the Idaho VFW for his almost 11 years 1 month service in the U.S. Army, serving three tours in Iraq.  Presenting the quilt was Teri Devine with the Quilts of Valor Foundation group in Nampa, Idaho.

He retired from the Army early be- cause of medical issues. His shoulder had to be re- constructed while in the Army. Then after a terrible accident in Georgia, he survived with some serious injuries to his back, ribs, pelvis, spleen and kidney.  He is in very good spirits and looks forward to the future.
Joshua says he had a good experience and would probably be in jail if he hadn’t gone off to serve his country. His advice for young people considering the military he says to "do your research and keep your options open. You won’t enjoy it or gain as much from the experience if you just go in blindly." 

Joshua said the original plan upon in- listing was to serve one hitch, see some of the world and get out. But after going into combat with his fellow soldiers he felt he couldn’t leave back without him. “It’s a family, you’ve got each-other’s back. You depend on each other the way no one outside of the military will ever understand,” he says.

Joshua has a chest full of awards, the list of which are:
Army Commendation Medal (2nd award)
Meritorious Unit Commendation
Army Superior Unit Award
Army Good Conduct Medal (3rd Award)
National Defense Service Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Iraq Campaign Medal Campaign Star (2nd Award)
Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon
Army Service Ribbon Overseas Service Ribbon (3rd Award)
Combat Infantryman Badge

Expert Infantryman Badge

The ladies and gentleman at the Parma Senior Center gave Joshua a welcome home that he described as “outstanding, incredible,” later he added “overwhelming”. At the ceremony in the Parma Senior Center Herb Endicott, Idaho VFW District Commander chapter read an outline of Joshua's service to our country. He invited  Joshua to join the VFW his fellow soldiers to go and said “You are one of us now, let us know if we can do anything for you. Let us know if you need anything.”

Also present to make this presentation special were Joshua’s mom, Carolyn "Kari" Blackmore and her husband Brian, Joshua’s daughter,  Breaunna, came from Spokane to surprise her dad.  Josh's Uncle John Owings along with his son, Garrett, came from Weiser, Idaho. Joshua also has a son Trevor who lives in Seattle and was unable to attend. Representatives from the Parma Fire, Police, and Ambulance crews were also present, along with the VFW groups from New Plymouth, Wilder and Payette, Idaho.  The Parma Senior Center was PACKED with people honoring Josh.

“Today, this has got to be the best welcome home a man could get,”he said “The first time I came home, it was just my family. But this time, it’s amazing, the whole dang town!”

Welcome home Joshua Owings and thank you for all you have done for us.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New Executive Director

New Executive Director

Over the past several months, the board of directors has been searching for Quilts of Valor Foundation's next Executive Director. The response to our request for candidates was outstanding.

It is our pleasure to announce that Susan Gordon, previously Destination Coordinator and State Coordinator for Georgia & North Carolina, has accepted the position and, over the course of the next few weeks, will be transitioning in as our new Executive Director.

Susan started sewing Quilts of Valor because of Carlie Nichols, who has headed up the QOV program in western North Carolina for some time. A few years ago, Catherine invited QOVF volunteers nationwide to make Autograph Star blocks and send them or bring them to Washington for a sewing weekend. Washington was too far to go for Susan, so she asked some of her quilting friends in NE Georgia if they'd be interested in making some of the blocks. They went to work.

Susan graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a degree in English education and from the University of Tennessee with a master's degree in adult learning. After graduation, she worked in the University of Tennessee's Department of Continuing Education, creating non-credit programs and events as well as recruiting teachers.

Before retiring in 2005, Susan was an international trainer in leadership development and strategic planning for corporations. She has enjoyed using some of the skills she learned in that role in planning QOV retreats, helping groups get organized, and creating better networking.

Susan and her husband Bud live in Georgia. They have one son who is currently finishing a graduate program in school counseling.

Thank you to everyone for believing in Quilts of Valor Foundation and for giving so much every day to cover all service members touched by war, and especially to June Moore for her leadership during the past two years.

Now, please join us in congratulating and welcoming Susan to her new role. Susan can be contacted at

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Presentation of the Quilts

While the setting was impressive (Marriott West), the food wonderful - including a chocolate ganache cake that was to die for, it was the presentations of the quilts that took the spotlight.

 Each facilitator took a stack of quilts to their table and gave one to each spouse or family member. They were told to hold it for a moment. then they were instructed to drape it over the shoulders of their warrior. The emotion was almost overwhelming as we saw all those red/white/blue "capes".

And the sight of all those wrapped in "our love" brought tears to my eyes (like that's something new!).

Afterwards they were invited to get them signed by Rita or myself. Many included the spouse on the label. All were so thankful including one really tall sailor who told me how much it meant as his grandma quilted and he knew all the love and work that went into it. He had tears in his eyes as he thanked me over and over.

Then there was the Navy nurse who served downrange at a hospital (can't remember where). She told of the storage room that held the QOV's waiting to be presented and covering the wounded. She said it was a "holy place" and never imagined that she would be presented with such a special quilt. So if you ever thought that these were "just blankets", be assured that they are not treated that way by the military.

The Land of Lincoln Quilters did an outstanding job on the quilts - check out their blog! Before the start of the program several people came up to gush, really gush, over the quilts Rita had brought.

The evening starts out with the what they used to call the "gauntlet". When some of these men and women get their orders to go home, they catch the first means of getting there. Some come home without the fanfare, so the facilitators and "brass" line up and applaud them when they enter the room.

After they are seated, they have the MIA tribute. It's a very solemn, with much meaning, event. Dinner follows. After a very delicious meal, they give awards to the significant other and then the warrior. Then there are speeches---one given by the Admiral.

It is after that, when the facilitators go and get the quilts, present to the significant other and then when the quilts are all handed out, they have the wrapping!!!

We've had personnel visit at our sew-ins where they have mingled and sat and sewn with us. We miss that. But that evening they were talking about when they can return. Well, so many were showing an interest, I told them we will bring our machines to them.

Rita Pennington 
Region 6 Coordinator
Quilts of Valor Foundation

You Should Honor the VETS

Friday, August 16, 2013

If You Build It, They Will Come...

And I believe it is true!

As we were leaving the conference and traveling through Illinois, I spotted a quilt shop sign and suggested to Doyleen that we take a break and visit the shop.  When we found it, there was a sign outside the shop advertising fabric at two dollars a yard.  We both commented that it must be cheap low quality fabrics.  What we found, however, was that every bolt in the store was that price.  Fabric that was marked eight, nine, and ten dollars a yard was going at the sale price.  The only "catch" -- we had to buy what was left on the bolt.  If there were more than 15 yards, the price was $1.50 per yard.  The store was going out of business and it was the last week.  They wanted to sell!

Well, I went berserk and ended up buying almost two hundred yards.  Doyleen finally had to stop me.  Most of this is very nice fabric and the colors will work for most QOV's.  we can now provide backs for more than 40 quilts.


Just last Friday a woman called Doyleen asking her if she would accept some fabric.  She had three boxes she wanted to donate to a worthy cause.  When they delivered the fabric, we had a chance to tell about the mission of QOVF.  Her husband was impressed about the work we were doing.  He said he worked at the county mayors office and he was going to set up a meeting with the mayor and the county veterans affairs officer.  Apparently they have many contacts, and access to many facilities county-wide where volunteers can sew, and veterans can be honored.  They are also looking for projects like ours to highlight on local television and newspapers.  We will meet with them this week.


About a month ago, two ladies contacted me about setting up a QOVF booth at the Tennessee Valley Fair.  The fair is a big deal in East Tennessee and lasts for ten days.  Thousands of people come every year.  They will not charge me for the space.  I will have the opportunity to recruit new piecers and long armers, promote the mission of QOVF and hopefully raise some funds.  And there is a special surprise -- the fair organizer is an Afghanistan veteran.  He doesn't know it, but he will be receiving his QOV during the closing ceremony when local heroes are honored.

There must be a reason so many things are coming together all at once.  The only thing I can come up with for an explanation is "if you will build it, they will come."  In other words, I believe that if we put our heart and soul into a project, and work hard, opportunities will find us.

Just wanted to share.

Dennis Taylor
Coordinator for Tennessee