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Keep on Keeping On

August has been another busy month. We ramped up our quilting skills and called on our QOH family for more help as we get ready for the next three months.

On August 16th, we went to Copperopolis, CA where we awarded 5 quilts to WWII veterans who had a long wait for a thank you. When I awarded to the first veteran, a big tear flowed from his eyes and he said, “I’m going to treasure this the rest of my life.” We awarded to two Vietnam veterans, the first said, “I’m going to cry and I don’t do that.” The second said, “This I will treasure; I never heard of this but I won’t forget.”

On August 17th, we were working in the shop and Joyce, Cora, Nancy and Delphia came in for extra help. We had been having WIFI problems with Comcast so I called and to everyone’s amazement, they came out that afternoon. Two young gentlemen came and we all didn’t pay much attention to them. I told them the tower was upstairs. When they came down, I said I guess you can tell what we do and the one replied, quilts. I said not just quilts; we do them for combat veterans. They both said at the same time, “I was in the Army” and the other said, “I was in the Air Force,” both OIF veterans. We all looked at each other. We have given out so many quilts that we were down to 15 on the rack but I looked at Barb and said, “We got 2 more” and we surprised them each with a quilt. When they left they told us to keep doing what we are doing and that it was awesome.

August isn’t even over and we are scheduled for two more ceremonies. Next week is our QOH Workshop (8/26) where we hope to finish another 20 quilts that we will need.

We also want to welcome our new group, Table Rock Quilts of Honor in Branson, MO, who will be doing a big award ceremony on Veterans Day. Quilts of Honor East has taken on the Fair in Fairfax County Virginia for nine days – we just keep on keeping on.

So proud of QOH and it’s giving spirit. God bless and stay tuned,

Gail

Our Kind of Fireworks

Yesterday being the 4th, I’m usually the first to have fireworks but not this year.  We had our fireworks at the Angels Camp 4th of July Celebration.  We gave out a total of 17 Quilts of Honor.  Barbara, Debbie and Flo spent the day helping to set up our quilt booth and awarding quilts.  It was an old fashioned 4th.  I was honored to play To the Colors to start the Parade of Flags.  They sat me up front on the stage – kinda felt pretty important.  After the reading of the Declaration of Independence, we started our Quilt of Honor ceremony.  One by one each veteran was called up front to receive their quilt.  All 15 recipients were surprised and honored to receive their quilt.  The crowd would stand and clap for each one.  There were tears and smiles as big as Texas.  Angels camp thanked us for all we do so many times and we got many compliments from the crowd.

It was a pretty hot day.  By the time we broke down our booth and loaded the truck, we were so hot and tired.  We hadn’t eaten since breakfast so we decided to get food to bring home, eat, then unload the truck.  When you’re hot and starving it’s not a good mix.  Deb and I went to MarVal, our famous grocery store and the one and only in Valley Springs, to get food – shouldn’t have gone into the store hungry.  We came out with everything and it was sure good.

Then, we went to unload the truck and we were doing pretty good when I heard this voice far off saying, “I’m here.”  I knew it was Deb and I was thinking what is she doing; where is she.  Now remember it’s hot and then I hear Deb say, “I’m in the shed.”  The door shut and she got locked in and stuck behind the QOH sign.  I started laughing – only Deb could get herself locked in the shed.  You could say we always have some kind of adventure.

We had a great day, made some veterans very happy and those were some pretty good fireworks, tears and smiles.

God bless America land of the Free because of the Brave,

Gail

PS:  Someone is getting the word out about us because this week we received 14 quilt requests thru the website from all across the US.  Keep quilting everyone– we are doing an awesome job.

Happy Fourth of July

We, at Quilts of Honor Headquarters, would like to wish everyone a Happy 4th of July.

I always start the weekend of the 4th playing my horn to raise the Field of Flags.  It is always at sunrise – I call it 0-dark-30 – but such an honor.  Each flag has the name of a veteran, a police officer, or a fireman.  It is a great way to honor so many and a great start to a patriotic weekend.

We had such a great week celebrating our 5 year anniversary with over 100 people attending and awarding 11 quilts.  American Legion Post 102 Honor Guard presented the colors and Maria Behm sang the national anthem.  All of our recipients were totally surprised and overwhelmed.  We awarded quilts to 7 female veteran -6 Marines and 1 Army MP who became a Navy doctor.  Boy did we tell stories to get her there.  We had great food catered by MarVel’s Deli and a beautiful cake.

It’s hard for me to believe it has been 5 years for us.  So many of you have given so much to make us special and I am so proud of what Quilts of Honor has become.  We are truly a family and I thank each one of you for all your hard work.  We have awarded over 2,290 quilts.  Our numbers may not be huge, but how we provide these quilts by honoring them individually has made a huge difference for so many.  May we continue our mission.

We will be attending the Angels Camp 4th of July celebration today and awarding over 15 quilts.

God bless you all and thank you for all you do.
Gail

Most people really don’t think about our veterans except on Memorial Weekend and Veterans Day.  Those two months usually keep us running and this past May was no exception.

Some of you may not know that Delphia comes to the Shop on Monday and Tuesday of each week and Rick comes on Wednesday to run our computer Longarm, Abigail.  They keep the quilts moving all week and make it so we can keep awarding quilts.  Those two are getting pretty good on Abigail.

May 12:  QOH was scheduled to go to the Linden Lyons Club to speak and present a quilt.  My dad slipped and fell and split his wound open so off to the hospital we went.  Barb and her daughter, Carol, filled in for me.  They awarded a quilt to a Navy Seal and got us a large donation from the Club.  Thank you to both of them for coming through.  They got big blue ribbons.

May 13:  My first adventure was speaking at the Sacramento Rotary.  Becky, Rosemary and Gretchen, who do Quilts of Honor with us from the Sacramento area, were all present.  They often work with Rotary as their husbands are members.  Before I began to speak I decided to award a quilt so they could see what we do.  I called the recipient up to the front and he was truly surprised.  Charles is a Vietnam veteran who had never been thanked.  The quilt was special as it had been made by his Aunt Becky and Aunt Rosemary.  It was a pretty emotional moment for all and a long overdue thank you.

I gave my speech about Quilts of Honor and when I finish I always ask if there are any questions.  This time a few questions were asked and then I sat down.  A gentleman came to the front and said he had a question.  He said, “You must come from a pretty good upbringing to do this.”  I replied that I was raised in Dos Palos and Gustine, both small towns.  He then said, “I bet you were teased a lot about a little fat boy you hung around with.”  I said not that I can remember.  Well, he didn’t give up.  He kept repeating it and finally by this time I am getting frustrated so I blurt out, “do I know you?”  He says, “I’m Billy Martin.”  I still didn’t get it.  Then he said, “I went to 3rd and 4th grade with you and had a crush on you.”  Well, everyone in the place went crazy laughing.  I must have been 10 shades of red.  I did finally remember and what a shock.  It was pretty cool – you never know who could come into your life again one day.  Note:  he isn’t fat anymore.

May 16:  At the Calaveras County Fair, I had the honor of playing To the Colors as 75 plus veterans unfolded a 38 foot flag.  I marched out into the horse arena with the Color Guard through the cow and horse pies.  That was real interesting especially when I’m not as young as I used to be and these old legs ain’t what they used to be.

May 17:  Quilts of Honor went to Niles, CA where they were having a Quilt and Garden Show.  Flo, Debbie and I setup a booth and met Belle and Laura, our QOH family from that area.  Belle’s daughter has a quilt shop there, “Color Me Quilts”, so Flo went shopping.  We awarded one quilt to a Vietnam veteran in a wheelchair.  He smiled so bit and later I was told he wouldn’t let anyone take it off his lap.  It was cold and windy but we enjoyed the day.  It would be a great day trip for quilters in central and northern California – two quilt shops and lots of antiques.

May 19:  We were scheduled to go to Visalia to award quilts and speak.  This time when I got up to speak, I asked if there was anyone from my home towns – tell me now.  We awarded three quilts.  Marilee and Dolores came to be a part of it as I was speaking to the Daughters of the American Revolution.  We all three belong to the Turlock Chapter.  It was a nice day.

We left there and went to Dinuba to see the small replica of the Vietnam Wall and to see if Johnnie’s name was on the Wall.  Then we went to Reedley to a quilt shop then, it being a three hour drive, we started home with a quick trip to see my Aunt and Uncle, 88 yrs and 91 yrs, when I get a call from home that dad isn’t feeling good.  One hour into the trip they took him to Emergency.  I was lucky I didn’t get a ticket the rest of the way.  I went straight to emergency where they had admitted dad.

May 23-24:  Not Forgotten Event, Manteca, CA with the traveling Vietnam Veterans Wall.

There are so many stories.  We worked two full days and were on our feet almost the whole two days awarding quilts.  The first day we awarded 33 quilts; the second day 40 quilts.  These quilts were all given spontaneously.  We would see the veteran’s hat, walk up and talk to him to see if he or she qualified.  When the one interviewing knew, they would signal and we would grab a quilt, walk up and present.  So many tears as these were veterans coming to that Wall to see their friends and pay their respects.  It was so emotional for so many as they never expected what we did but when we presented a quilt, many cried deeply.  Some came back to see us on the second day.  Carl took pictures of everyone that received a quilt and emailed them a picture of them receiving a quilt.  We have gotten many heartfelt thank yous.  I was so proud of all of our QOH workers.  Everybody went the extra mile in the heat and wind.  All of our quilts were stunning and were an honor to give.  We made quite an impression on so many – not just the veteran but their family and friends were equally surprised and thankful.

It took us a few days to recover but we gave out a quilt on the 29th at the Shop to a Vietnam veteran.  I ended the month by awarding a quilt to my good friend, Gene, who turned 80 years old.  I surprised him and he just cried and said, “you don’t know what this means to me.”

We also shipped 3 quilts to Alaska where Marsha Borelli-Silva will award them for Quilts of Honor.  So, I would say, yes – May was memorable.

Dad Belmont had a 4 hour surgery Sunday and we hope he will be on the mend.  He has definitely kept us going.

To my second Mom in Gardnerville, NV – keep getting better.  I love you and miss you and will see you soon.

God bless everyone for your prayers.  God bless you all – you have done an awesome job for our veterans.

Gail

Memorial Weekend Begins

Friday we set up for the Not Forgotten Event in Manteca where we will be a vendor for two days.  They put us right in front of the Vietnam Traveling Wall but we weren’t planning on awarding any quilts on Friday.  So, right off a Vietnam Vet walks up to Flo and Barb and starts telling his story.  Why he picked us, I don’t’ know.  We hadn’t put up a sign yet, just our tents but you could tell he was distraught.  He turned and walked off and I asked Flo and Barb what he wanted.  They said he didn’t know the Vietnam Wall was here and that it included his brothers in Vietnam.  I told Debbie to go get him; we have to give him a quilt.  Debbie ran, and I mean ran, after him.  She told him we wanted to talk to him some more.  I introduced myself and talked to him as the girls feverishly looked for a Marine case and fabric pen.  Remember, we weren’t setup yet.  We finally had it together enough to award him a quilt.  He was so overwhelmed but so thankful and happy.  He then asked if he could pray with us.  We all got in a circle, arms around each other, and he thanked God for us and what we do.  That was a very special moment.  In all the years, we have never had one like Friday.

Sometimes we work so hard at QOH and we really wonder if this is too much but today showed how special it is.  This is a good start to remembering all our heroes.

Update on Dad Belmont – more tests being done and we hope to know more today.  Please keep the prayers going.

God bless all of you,
Gail

Recently we received correspondence from a quilter and husband wanting to make quilts for Quilts of Honor.  This is their story:

“My husband actually agreed to attend a quilt show with me.  So one beautiful day in Sonora, CA in 2014, we walked into a building full of quilts.  My husband was wearing his VietNam Vet hat and as we approached the Quilts of Honor booth he was immediately surrounded by women who were thanking him for serving our nation.  They shook his hand, gave him hugs, took his photo.  We both were so overwhelmed as they presented him with a quilt that neither of us could speak.  And that continues to be the case to this day.  Tears well up and a lump fills the throat, the emotion is so great.  After all the years of being condemned, FINALLY, someone (a lot of someones) was saying Thank You.  And we find this to be true throughout the Central Valley of California – unlike the rest of the state.  So, when a couple of my quilt organizations started making Blocks of the Month, I decided to make mine in red, white and blue so I could pay back this kindness and I can pay forward to the wonderful men and women who have given big parts of their lives to serve this country.

I will continue to make my BOMs for QOH and hope to have 2-3 quilt tops per year to donate to this wonderful project.

Thank you, Gail, and all your associates for caring about those who have sacrificed so much.    Elaine”

Thank you all for supporting our Mission.  God bless,
Gail

Quilts of Honor Family

Today I learned what Quilts of Honor Family is all about and I was on the receiving end.  I often talk about how we are family, we gather each month for our workshops so we can make our quilts, we laugh, we eat, we cry, we enjoy each other’s company and we enjoy what we are doing for veterans.  We have built friendships and for 5 years so many of our QOH family keep coming back.  Some drive two hours but they make it.  That, to me, is determination and a love for Quilts of Honor.  I always felt blessed so many would show up to help and work their fingers off all day binding, cutting fabric and sharing quilting ideas.

Today they blessed me.  It’s been a pretty tough year for our family with Dad Belmont but after his last fall, we hope once again he will be on the road to recovery.  Through this past year our family decided to turn the barn into a little house for me.  That way I could be closer to Mom and Dad and help out.  For me, taking care of them is a no brainer.  I’m the oldest and they deserve the best of life.  I lived in my other house for 20 years so it has been quite an adjustment but God seems to always have plans for me.  Being closer I can hopefully quilt more when all is settled.

Through all of this, my QOH family has watched and I think worried as so much was changing for me.  So, they decided to throw me a “Barn Warming”.  Of course I did have to clean house so everyone could see.  Well, they did it up good.  We had the best food and over 40 people came.  My bedroom was once the tack room – that makes a good story when showing the barn off.  I got the cutest things and a money tree.  With the extra money I will put in a water softener.  I got an olive tree that I can’t wait to plant and watch it grow as QOH has grown.

THANK YOU is not enough for all those who came to the “Barn Warming”, brought food, gifts and smiles and hugs.  The cake was to die for – lemon made by Villa Bakery with a barn on it.  We all loved it and I had it for dinner, too.

Today proved what a giving group we really are, but I already knew that by all that you give to Quilts of Honor and myself.  It was good to see some of our family that can’t make it to the workshops but are a part of us.

To my QOH Board, I couldn’t do it without you and your undying support 24/7.  To Willene and Cliff, Barbara, Debbie, Andy and Flo who started the morning so early setting up cooking and not letting me do much – I will always be grateful and blessed you are in my life.

God bless each and every one of our Quilts of Honor family.  Love you all.  I hope you all know how special you are.

We have a busy month of May so I’ll be posting our events – stay tuned……

Gail

Barn Warming Cake

Barn Warming Cake

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