Anderson Island Quilters are renowned for their many needlework projects; particularly the Labor Day quilt awarded each year to some lucky recipient during the fall festivities held at the Community Clubhouse.
On Jan. 25, quilts featuring patriotic symbols in hues of red, white, and blue were presented to four islanders as part of the Quilts of Valor Project.
The presentation was sandwiched in between Anderson Island Historical Society’s first meeting of the year that included a potluck feast (assorted dishes resembled a quilt, of sorts), followed by a program about the Far North.
That night’s presentation marked the second group of awards since the Island’s American Legion Post began the QOVF project about six months ago, according to Lucy Stephenson, AIHS member.
Islander veterans honored with their own quilts included Dick Throm, Jim and Karen Kempton, and Ben Skewis. This group represents Marines, Navy, Army and Air Force.
Skewis was especially surprised to receive the quilt that his wife had stitched. She quietly worked on the project at home, deflecting her spouse’s curiosity about the quilt while it was in progress.
Meanwhile, some lucky person, as yet unknown, will win the 2014 Labor Day quilt that’s currently on the quilting frame.
Blue Star mom Catherine Roberts, began the Quilts of Valor Foundation (QOVF) from her sewing room in Seaford, DE. Her son’s yearlong deployment to Iraq provided the initial inspiration, and her desire to see that returning warriors were welcomed home with the love and gratitude they deserved, provided the rest.
She hit upon the idea that linking quilt-toppers with machine quilters in a national effort could achieve her goal of coverall all returning service men and women touched by war. These wartime quilts, called Quilts of Valor (QOV’s), would be a tangible reminder of an American’s appreciation and gratitude. Since 2003, QOVF has become a national grassroots community service effort, connecting the home front with America’s wounded combat warriors and veterans.
QOV’s are stitched with love, prayers and healing thoughts. Combat troops who have been wounded or touched by war are awarded this tangible token of appreciation that unequivocally says, “Thank you for your service, sacrifice and valor.”
A Quilt of Valor is a generous lap-sized quilt (minimum of 55 X 65). After it has been bound, washed, labeled and wrapped in a presentation case, it is ready to be awarded. Quilts are awarded at many different levels: they may go to military hospitals where Chaplains award them to service members; there may be presentations of QOV’s to entire service units returning from combat deployments; they may be awarded at VA’s or presented individually. No matter how a Quilt of Valor is given, the impact it delivers is unequivocal.
As one recipient said, “My quilt isn’t another military medal to be placed in a box and sit on my shelf. I was moved to tears.” – SSgt RC, US Army, Iraq ‘05
More information about the quilting project can be found at: www.QOVF.org . QOVF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization