Sunday, November 1, 2015

This Quilt Is So Nice

Dear Linda and Terry,

Thank you again for your role in the Quilt of Valor presentation for Joe yesterday. As you heard, Joe suffers from life-threatening seizures. As a result, Joe is unable to work, can't legally drive and is unable to participate in many of the activities he once enjoyed, including hunting and country swing dancing. As I'm sure you can imagine, the transition from a strong and hard-working soldier, husband and father to a man who must rely on others for many of the most basic independences has not been easy. A few things that Joe said within the 24 hours after the presentation have really resonated with me and I hope they will reinforce for you how important your volunteer work is for so many former soldiers.  

Here are just a few quotes and observations from the 24 hours after the presentation:

"I can't believe a Navy Seal drove all the way up from Wenatchee to honor me. A NAVY SEAL. No one has ever done anything like that for me before."

"This quilt is so nice. I already know where I am going to put it. It will look perfect folded on the back of my couch and I can use it as a throw."

Joe read and reread the inscription on the back of the quilt multiple times. He showed it to his mom, pointed out his name and said jokingly, "Don't get too attached to this quilt, it's mine."

And the real tear-jerker was this morning over coffee when Joe was reminiscing about the whole presentation again. Diane (his mom) said to Joe, "Did it make you feel special?" 

Joe said, "It did."

Diane replied, "See, the world hasn't forgotten about you."

In your short visit you gave Joe so much more than just a beautiful quilt. As the days go by, I hope his Quilt of Valor will serve as a warm reminder that the world has not left him behind. Thank you again.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


We received this update from our Alaska State Coordinator. Our volunteers are some of the hardest working volunteers in the country. They give so much—Thank You! 
From Linda Kau - Alaska State Coordinator
It's been awhile since I sent a State of Alaska update, so guess I'd better do that! This year we've had several major award ceremonies and numerous individual requests and visits. We also made trips onto Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson to award QOVs at the Warriors Transition Battalion, and to individual soldiers and airmen, when requested.

In April, we awarded quilts to the veterans returning from Washington D.C. on the Last Frontier Honor Flight. Twenty-three men and women enjoyed this surprise award at the Welcome Home ceremony. We've been asked to award QOV's once more at this weekend's Welcome Home ceremony. On this flight, of which twenty-three more recipients, will reach out to the farthest parts of the state's northwest corner; the Northern Interior, Annette Island in the Southeast, Kenai Peninsula, as well as, veterans located throughout South Central. One recipient is a member of the Alaska Territorial Guard, he kept his eyes on the Japanese during WWII. The only lady veteran on this flight was in the Nurse Corp where she met a young sailor whom she married after the war. That's a total of forty-six WWII and Korean War veterans. We might have missed them had it not been for the invitation to be part of The Last Frontier Honor Flight Welcome Home ceremonies.

In September, we made our 4th annual visit to the Alaska Veterans and Pioneer Home, where we awarded QOVs to twenty new veteran residents and three other local veterans for whom quilts had been requested. Each year, attrition takes away so many of our older veterans that we find that about twenty new QOVs are needed each September. This year, one lady veteran made the day extra special for everyone. She was so excited to receive a quilt and to see all of her fellow veterans receive theirs that her cheers and hugs warmed everyone's heart. We always have the local JROTC Color Guard open the ceremony and a local lady with a beautiful voice sings the National Anthem. Even the veterans who aren't able to leave their wheelchairs come to attention during this ceremony.

Another group that we have had the pleasure of making QOV's and awarding to is the local chapter of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association. They've even made me an associate member because I seem to "show up" to so many of their meetings.☺ In November, ten more of their members will be recognized as we award them QOVs. This will bring the total up to thirty-five members who have been recognized.

Our semi-annual retreats held at the local VFW post, always include awards held each evening and on Saturday afternoon. The VFW Auxiliary gives us names to honor each year, usually reaching out to the older veterans at their post. This year I also invited several for whom I had received individual requests for to join the festivities. At the fall retreat, I had one veteran ask if one of his buddies could also receive a QOV. Of course, I said yes. The evening of the event, a surprise visitor, another buddy who had served with the other two at various posts, came to watch the event. Buddy #2 said, "I sure wish I'd known Gonzo was going to be here,  I'd have asked if you could honor him, too." Well..........of course there just happened to be an extra quilt on the table and an extra award certificate in my bag.......So we ended up awarding fifteen quilts that weekend.
The group in Fairbanks covers the Interior and does a great job. They award quilts to the soldiers at Ft. Wainwright. When requested, they fill all of the individual requests for the Interior and reach out to the far north. Recently, we had a request for eight quilts to go to the small village of Anaktuvuk Pass (ever watch Ice Road Truckers?), Sally, our group leader, was able to find a traveling nurse who will use her airline miles to carry those quilts to the village and make the awards. This is an area that's pretty much isolated much of the year due to poor roads.

The new group, who formed earlier this year on Kodiak Island (about 250 miles southwest of Anchorage), hung their first eleven quilts at their local guild's quilt show the first weekend of the month. While there, they received several nominations which they will be able to fill immediately. Nice! This part of the state can be reached only by air or water, so I'm especially grateful to have a group leader there to make awards and bring the quilters into our fold.

Another new group this year is called Christ Church Cut Ups. Cute name, no? Before they even formed the group they'd received a grant from their diocese to buy tools, fabric, etc. to make quilts. Now they have added Quilts of Valor® to their ministry and we awarded their first quilt this last Friday night. I hope to have pictures and a story about this man and his QOV® soon. He's in his mid-nineties and has served his country and church all of those years. His service to the country started (as he said) proudly in April 1941 and continues today.

A guild in a neighboring town, between my home and Anchorage, has also formed a QOV membership group. They are off to a slower start, they have made one award so far. With the coming of winter I expect to hear more about their activities soon. They also hold monthly sew day so I'm sure they'll be up and running before long.

If you've read this far.......thank you! When I start talking QOV I seem to get very long winded.☺

Linda Kau
State of Alaska Coordinator
Quilts of Valor® Foundation

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

K.I.A. to receive a Quilt of Valor

K.I.A. to receive a Quilt of Valor

A Quilt of Valor will be awarded to Jacky Bayne on November 21, 2015 in Rock Hill, SC. 

Jacky Bayne was an infantry dog handler in Vietnam with his K-9, Bruno.  Their job was to locate mines and other explosives, then detonate them so others would not get injured.

While on a mission that lasted more than 24 hours with no sleep, Mr. Bayne was Killed in Action on July 16, 1967 in the jungles outside the port city of Chu Lai.  (please don’t make assumptions - continue reading) 

Bayne was declared dead, so he was put in a body bag.  At a field hospital, Sgt. Bruce Logan was tagging Bayne’s toe to identify him and as a young corpsman when for reasons unknown, he checked the body.  He found a faint pulse.

They rushed Bayne to the field hospital, but by then his pulse was gone, so they pronounced him dead again.

Before the field embalmers could start on Bayne, though, another pulse, weak, was found. A bit of blood came from the shredded leg. He was rushed back to the field hospital one more time, and this time, nobody came with a body bag.

The last thing Bayne remembered is Bruno and he got blown up.  It killed Bruno.

A month later he woke up at the Walter Reed Army hospital here in the states.   He thought he was a prisoner of war, maybe off in some camp someplace, and he heard his mother’s voice. He asked if any of my men got killed.   The answer was no.  The only one that died was Bruno.

“Bruno died, and I gave my leg and more”, Bayne said.  “But those soldiers did not die.  It was all I cared about then, that Bruno and I did our duty.”

At that Army hospital in 1967, Bayne weighed 70 pounds. He and his family were told that because of the loss of blood to his organs and brain, he would never be more than a “vegetable” if he did survive. Bayne suffered brain damage that affected his left arm and other functions – but he survived 1967 and several surgeries, a real-life American Vietnam War veteran.

He met a pretty girl named Patsy Lane who worked at one of the mills, and in 1974, Patsy and Jacky were married in front of a church packed to the rafters.   Bayne said, “I stood up that day on one leg and said, ‘I do’ – and I still do.  For Forty years she’s taken care of me.    Our marriage has never wavered.”

To this day, all Bayne ever cares about after being so badly wounded and disabled – with every right to be upset at being sent to a war where he lost part of his body and his independence – is telling people how much he loves America.

He firmly said, “This is the greatest country in the world.   Those men on the Vietnam wall, they died for this great country, and I sure respect every one of them.   I knew some of them close and personal.  I knew what kind of great Americans they were.   I saw what they did over there, what we had to do. I was right there with them.”

“The veterans is who I care about.   The ones that got killed, those that got hurt, those who came back to try to live afterward. These wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, too. When the soldiers come back; we better take care of them.”

“America didn’t give up on me. The people around here didn’t give up on me.  I died twice in Vietnam, but I’m still here.”

The Quilts of Valor Foundation has not given up on him either.  Mr. Jacky Bayne will be among 75 veterans to be awarded a Quilt of Valor on Saturday, November 21st.  The ceremony will be at Aldersgate United Methodist Church – 2115 Celanese Rd in Rock Hill, SC.  The veterans will meet and greet at 1:30 PM with the awards ceremony to start at 2:30 PM.

You can see Jacky Bayne’s story in newsprint and a video by going to the following sites.  The Herald  and on YouTube.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Marianne Fons Addresses Quilts of Valor Foundation

Paducah KY

National public television host Marianne Fons addresses Quilts of Valor Foundation conference attendees with information about a new pledge special about Quilts of Valor currently in production at Iowa Public Television.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Quilts of Valor and 4H Students

From Lincoln, Nebraska

Throughout the year eighteen 4H students worked on making 28 Quilts of Valor, which they proudly displayed on August 3 in York, Nebraska.

 Eileen K., is the University of Lincoln, Extension Agent, who has worked tirelessly these past several years to guide and encourage these young quilters in their endeavors. She retires this year. The students were interviewed earlier this year by Iowa Public Television who, in conjunction with Marianne Fons, will be producing a segment on the 4H students of York and Quilts of Valor. This display of QOV's was also taped for inclusion in the eventual production. The Quilts of Valor will be displayed at the Nebraska State Fair before being awarded to some very deserving vets.

Monday, June 29, 2015


Received via email:
"Tonight Jane Nimmo and Connie Arnold of Quilts of Valor Foundation​ with help from our local VFW Post 3455 Commander, Mark Haddock, presented my husband, Robert Craft​, with a beautiful quilt at our son's last t-ball game in Anna, Illinois. It was very nice. Thank you Quilts of Valor!"

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Three Tours QOV

 From Lincoln, Nebraska

The Lincoln Quilters Guild were delighted to have Tony Jacobson as their April speaker . He also conducted a class based on his creation of the "Three Tours Quilt of Valor" design. He created this quilt in honor of his nephew Eric who served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was one of 12 selected for presentation of the 100,000th QOV in Washington, D.C. Tony is the Art Director for Easy Quilts magazine.

At the beginning of the meeting, Julia Schroeder (Information Desk Coordinator) addressed the group and requested that Dan S. come to the stage. Dan is not only a member of our Guild but also a veteran. In 1966 he received his draft notice and was sent to Camp Pendleton. After basic training with the US Marines Corps, he spent 10 months in Vietnam in an artillery battery near Danang. There were no crowds,  waving flags, or parades when he returned home. However, at a recent basketball game he was wearing a cap that had the Marine Corps insignia on it and a young man came up and asked to shake his hand. Dan didn't know what to say when the young man said, "Thank you for your service."

So it was an additional surprise when Julia awarded this QOV to Dan. The design is the Three Tours QOV and was made by Joyce P. It was truly special to have the Tony, the designer, present during this award.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Comfort For Those Who Served

An email received from one our Regional Coordinators"

"During my tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, I have heard about the Quilt of Valor from one of the soldiers that was assigned to one of the Marine units and I have always thought that this was a wonderful idea and a huge comfort for those who have served.  As a veteran, I never thought about the sacrifices that I have done; other than it was my duty and mission to get it done and remembering those fallen angels whom have given their lives for the freedom that I now enjoy.  Not a moment that goes by that I think about the lives of my men and those that I was so close to and it's hard to not take it personal.  My mere words can only express my gratitude to you and the women who will put my quilt together but I hope to meet these gentle angels in person and to personally thank each of them for the labor of love, time and energy into each of the many quilts that they have prepared for so many veterans."

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

What Happens To A QOV When A Veteran Passes On?

Recently we were asked, "What happens to a quilt when the veteran passes on?"

Our response:

A Quilt of Valor is an Award. They are not “on loan.” We, the quilters, the awarders, are no longer in charge with what happens to a veteran’s Quilt of Valor when he or she passes. We put a label on our quilts so that they will serve as a reminder for generations to come that this family member has served and sacrificed for all of us. Perhaps it has even served as a way for that veteran to open up and share some of what they were required to do in defense of this country. 
If asked by the family, we would tell them to cherish it as they did the veteran to whom it was awarded. To pass it along to children and grandchildren. We would hope there are many years of comfort and warmth left in the QOV for those left behind.
For those who die without family, there is someone who will take care of the deceased last wishes. What would they do with his/her Purple Heart? Metal of Honor? Many family members said their veteran asked that their Quilt of Valor be displayed at the funeral or laid over their casket. It if is buried with this veteran, so be it. It is no longer ours to decide. In no case would we take it back and re-award it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

34 Veterans where awarded Quilts of Valor.

From one of our Regional Coordinators:

Saturday January 24th, 2015 Comfort and Healing was served on a Patriotic Platter of “Welcome Home” as 34 Veterans where awarded Quilts of Valor.
The South Bay Blue Star Moms - Sewing Stars and the Silicon Valley QOV State Coordinator Jerilyn Lightfoot and assistance from the Community all partnered together to put on the Second Annual Quilts of Valor Ceremony held at The Santa Clara American Legion Post 564.

34 Recipients were honored (those in attendance) and where awarded their life-time Quilt of Valor for their service to our Nation (WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf/Iraq/Afghanistan).

 The American Legion Hall was transformed by the patriotic display of QOV encompassing the room and walls. Recipients and their guest where greeted by Blue Star Moms. Many guests learned about QOV for the first time. On hand was a Vintage Featherweight and Sewing items to show the quilting process and literature. QOV banners and posters where everywhere!

Cathy Crowder was the Master of Ceremonies and was assisted by SBBSM QOV Group Leader Ida Henscheid. Ida’s Core QOV team where introduced Cathy Crowder, Debbie Parks and Jerilyn Lightfoot. Gloria Cervantes lead the invocation. Harvey Mayhill was the keynote speaker and gave an outstanding, dynamic speech addressing the veterans and legacy and importance of the Quilts of Valor and our mission today. Harvey applauded the military families and proudly awarded his personal lifelong friend Dr. Andrew Froumis his QOV. The QOV recipients where indeed Welcomed HOME after his speech! Jerilyn spoke about the quilting process introducing the audience to quilting terms comparing them to military acronyms. She spoke about the value of community assistance and thanking local supporters, schools and actively recruited members to join QOV in order to meet increasing need for QOV. Jerilyn handed Harvey a QOV called “California Dreaming” and requested him to find a recipient and award it in South Carolina.   

The most exciting part of the day you ask? – Awarding Recipients their lifetime QOV.  The room was aglow and the smiles and cheers brightened and touched our very core. Quilts we worked on, touched, loved and knew so well …  parted from our hands then magically bonded to their new rightful owner.

A special Quilt of Honor was also presented to Gold Star Aunt Bev Hromec her nephew was Army Captain Ian. P. Weikel,  KIA  Balad, Iraq April 18, 2006. She was deeply moved and embraced by those in attendance.

 Group photographs where taken amidst the cheers of the men and woman all wrapped up in their Quilts of Valor. No two alike, yet HONORED brothers and sisters in arms. United.

 Guests where then invited to a reception elegantly prepared and hosted by members.

The South Bay Blue Star Moms are an amazing group comprised of not only Blue Star Moms but they also have “man – sewers” and students and regular folks in the community who care and help sew. This group is solid and very talented and dedicated. In fact, it might not surprise you that this particular group has become a collaboration model of partnership; as they are both Blue Star Moms (BSM) and QOV Group members. As the need for care packing is dwindling down, BSM are expanding finding new ways to support their community. What better way than to thank a veteran and support active duty military. This group should be recognized as they are a role model by which other BSM groups and QOV groups can form alliances in 2015. I’m also proud to serve, and sew along the side of them as one of their Blue Star Mom Sisters and as their QOV State Coordinator.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

‘Twas the night before National QOV Sew Day

A fun poem. We hope that Clement Moore will enjoy it!

‘Twas the night before National QOV Sew Day and all thro’ the house,
Not a creature was sleeping except maybe the mouse;
The R/W/B strips were hung on a rack with care,
In hopes that 10:00 AM soon would be there;
Our quilters in Alaska and Hawaii were still nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of quilting swirled in their heads,
With Papa snoring in his cap and I too restless to consider a nap,
Had just settled down with tea, waiting for the first sign of light,
My “tool belt” attached and cutter in hand – I’m sure I was a sight!
When up in my sewing room there arose such a clatter,
I sprang up the stairs to see what was the matter.
Down the hall I flew to find out the facts,
Tore open the door and stopped in my tracks,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But all of my quilting buddies ready to sew when the time was here
I whistled, cheered and shouted - what is the plan?
       (I called them by name)
It was Susan and Kathi, Rebecca & Pat, Oh Sheila, Ruthie, Ginny and Anna;
They were dress’d all in jammies, from their neck to their feet,
Some were standing and others had already taken their seat.
Their eyes – how they twinkled! Some had dimples and some not,
Their cheeks were like roses – were they already feeling hot?
And I laugh’d when I saw them turning with a twist and a jerk.
They were all ready to get to work.
The clock struck ten, and with my nod, they all began to applaud.
The fabric, Oh My, it all flew, what with the cutting, and ironing and sewing too.
They told stories, they laughed and they cried;
Everyone was there to greet me when I stepped inside.
I fed them good food for they had accomplished much on that February day.
Then finally as the sun was setting and out to their cars,
They were making their way,
I heard them in unison exclaim, ere they drove out of sight
– Happy National Sew Day to all and to all a good night.

Clement Moore, author – ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Friday, January 16, 2015

18 QOV's for 18 Korean War Vets

In October of 2013, 136 Korean War veterans made the Honor Flight from Omaha to Washington, D.C. where they were escorted around numerous War Memorials. Sara Kenny, our Nebraska Volunteer Coordinator, was later contacted and asked if we could supply Quilts of Valor to all 136 of these wonderful vets, and she said "yes!"
A number of quilts were made by 4-H kids of York, Nebraska, and the rest by the Lincoln QOV Group and Lincoln Quilters Guild. Today 18 of the Korean War Vets of Lancaster county were presented with their Quilts of Valor. 

With the help of the Veterans Service Office many of the other Korean War vets throughout the state were awarded their Quilts of Valor. 
It was an honor to commemorate the service of these brave men.