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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

Here we go again – another adventure for Dad Belmont.  Don’t know if many of you know that Dad fell last week.  Being the Marine that he is, he decided he was going to go get the leaf blower out of the shed.  His right side has never been stable since his stroke but it doesn’t stop him.  This time he fell down the hill behind the shop and couldn’t get up.  He crawled on his back up the hill so he could get help.  Mom Belmont didn’t even know he was outside.  I was 45 minutes away and had no signal at Veteran Affairs.  When I finally got a signal there were 6 voicemails on my phone.  Dad had broken his right hip; he had surgery the next day; and tonight we left him at a Rehabilitation center in Lodi, CA.  It was pretty hard to leave him there but he showed us he isn’t ready to give up.  He also showed us what Marines are made of even when they are 85 years old.  Since Mom and he have been married 64 years, it’s hard for them to be separated.  As Deb says, two peas in a pod.  We thank you for all the calls and prayers.  Our QOH family has come to the rescue again by stepping up to help.  We are still trying to maintain our regular schedule for the Shop and Quilts of Honor.

Saturday I had the honor of being the guest speaker at the Karl Ross Auxiliary’s Tea.  You should have seen those ladies all dressed up in their Sunday dress and hats, too.  Debbie went with me and she had her Sunday best on too.  Her husband told her she looked like the salt girl – that was quite a conversation about her outfit.  There were great finger foods and the best little deserts.

When I got up to speak, we had trouble locating our quilt recipient.  We thought she was going to be a now show.  Remember, we like to surprise our quilt recipients so first thing I did was tell everyone we were changing things up and I was going to present a very special lady veteran a quilt and I said her name.  I didn’t see the look on her face as I came down off the podium but she was totally taken back.  She said, “I am so honored.”  I went back to the podium and said my piece.  After we had our goodies, the ladies surprised the women veterans by calling us all up to the podium and honored each of us.  We were all different generations and eras from WWII to current.  We each received a certificate – that was all pretty cool.

I would like to thank the American Legion Post 16 Auxiliary for asking me to be their guest speaker and for the award.  I really needed more quilts and you would think by now I learned to carry 5 or 6 quilts all the time.  It was great to see all the ladies dressed up and they seemed to enjoy it.

I will try to keep you updated more often as long as I can still remember what we have done.

God bless all – be safe,
Gail

Happy Easter To All

The first week of April was quite a week – 4 days in Texas, fly home, then award two quilts on Friday.  We went to the University of the Pacific and met our United Way partner, Andy.  I had never been around the campus – it’s really beautiful.  We went to meet the weekly men’s coffee club and surprise a WWII veteran.  Quite a few people knew Paul was receiving a quilt but everyone kept the secret.  Andy got up and got the microphone – apparently Paul runs the meeting so when Andy took the mic, Paul looked at him like what are you doing.  It was great.  Andy told Paul we are honoring you, then I stepped up, took his hand and shook it and thanked him for his sacrifice and service to our country.  He was totally surprised – you couldn’t get that smile off his face.  Paul is 92 years young – you sure wouldn’t have guessed it.  So proud to honor these WWII veterans.

Then we drove to the other side of Stockton, CA and awarded another quilt to a Coast Guard veteran.  Bob is a WWII veteran and he too was surprised by his quilt.  The quilt was made by Wally, our 91 year old Navy veteran who pieces tops for Quilts of Honor.  Bob’s house was like a museum; we got to see so many great things.  Flo and Andy were great to keep me company and we enjoyed the time we shared giving Quilts of Honor.

It has been a blessed week just as it should be as we all celebrate Easter.  Here we are into the second week of April and it really hasn’t slowed down much for us.  We are preparing for May as it seems Memorial Day makes more people aware of our veterans.  From mid May to the end of May we are pretty much booked.  Hopefully I will be able to keep you up-to-date on our travels and adventures.  For any in the valley area, I will be speaking at Karl Ross Post 16 at the Women’s Auxiliary Tea on April 11th.  Everyone is welcome.  Tickets are $15.00.

Thank you all for your continued support.  God bless all.
Gail

We Will Be Back, Texas

Our morning started early.  Fred and I took Mocha to the Dog Park.  Now that is city living when you have to go to the Dog Park.  We then packed up and headed to Natalia, Texas for the workshop.  We met Debbie, our QOH partner, there and set up for the workshop.  The ladies started on kits that Fred had put together.  There were 18 ladies, not as many as usual, because there was a funeral of one of the church members.  We had awesome homemade pecan rolls, cookies, and lots of good finger food.  My only job was picking out a block.

Our big excitement of the morning was my wearing a fastanator.  A very nice lady came up to me and asked if I would wear a fastanator.  I asked what it was and she said she had one on her head.  It was red, purple and pink – really not my colors – but within seconds she had put it on my head.  I thought Barbara was going to fall over laughing.  Now, I’m trying to be polite and this nice lady said she could make me a patriotic one.  We’ll see, but we sure got a laugh out of it.  She told me I looked sassy and the guys would make nice comments.  So, quite entertaining.  We had a nice lunch and spent most of the day at the workshop.

We left there and went to get Fred set up at the bank – 2 ½ hours later all three of us were about crazy.  We ended up going to Blancos for BBQ.  It was so good.  It would be worth coming back.

We had a great, fast trip; met some wonderful people and dogs.  Loved the wildflowers.  It is such a military town and the need for quilts is great.  This group is slowly growing.  In the 2 years since they began, they have done an awesome job.

I will close for now so we can go eat Bluebell ice cream and brownies.  Until our next adventure……

God bless,
Gail
We will be back, Texas!

Center for the Intrepid

Today was quite an experience.  We went to the Center for the Intrepid where they fit and rehab our wounded warriors with prosthetics.  The Center was named after the USS Intrepid which had been refitted for battle four times.  Intrepid means fearless and today we saw fearless.

We were given a tour of the facility.  It was built in 16 months by the Fisher Foundation and was financed entirely by private donations through the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.  Over 600,000 people contributed to the $50 million construction cost.  It is state of the art.  They have a surfing wave system as if you were on the beach.  NASA made them a special chair for exercise.  There are computers that connect to each warrior so they can examine everything about the warrior and they can even send them back into battle by what the computer tells them.  They are able to fit up to 5 different prosthetics for whatever their need is.

We awarded 8 quilts today.  Bonnie awarded the first quilt.  She is 86 years young and boy, what s southern lady.  We gave to an Army Veteran who is retired and goes to the center to sit and talk with the warriors or sit while they have surgery if no family is there for support.  We also gave to a retired Navy veteran who gave us a tour.  By the time we had finished our tour, we knew he was a candidate for a quilt.  So deserving – he was an Honor Guard at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.  We gave to three other active duty wounded warriors.  The bravery we saw today would make you so proud.

Fred had us all dress alike – I think she has a little of me.  We all left the Center with great respect for the Center and for those who work there and, of course, our warriors.

Then we went to the Cracker Barrel.  To all our California QOH family – we ate your share.  We came home early and had great company with the ladies who do Quilts of Honor here.  Fred made us help with egg salad for tomorrow and I flunked egg peeling.  We had pizza for dinner, blue bell ice cream and brownies and yes, Mom, that ice cream is the best.  It’s now quiet as everyone went home and we are preparing for the workshop tomorrow.  Fred and Debbie have done a great job with this group that started two years ago.  It has taken over Fred’s life like it has many of ours but she gets it.  Fred said she will need a vacation after me – I don’t know if that’s good but she has great passion and I’m very proud of Bexar County Quilts of Honor.

Thank you to my brother for filling in for me so I could make the trip and thanks to Flo for taking care of my Freckles.

Oh, Texas is sure big – lots of traffic, crazy roads and thank God I’m not driving.  They do have stars on things all over.

God bless – more tomorrow
Gail

Texas is Great

We arrived safely and Fred picked us up without a hitch.  Fred really is Dorothy – her nickname is Fred and she and Debbie are headquarters for Quilts of Honor in San Antonio.  We are staying with Fred and her husband and their dog Mokca.  Mokca is so cool and runs on the treadmill.

We had lunch at Chaco Mexican food and you can see from the photo how big that burrito is and that’s only a half on a homemade tortilla – Jan, you would love this place.  After lunch we went for a scenic drive to Debbie’s, our other QOH partner.  Did I tell you Fred likes to do u-turns but not like me.  Debbie lives in the Texas country side down a dirt road, through two gates, past the outhouse and you’re there.  We saw the prettiest flowers – all wild.  I kept saying, “look at those flowers.”  In DC it was colors but here it’s wild flowers.  The white ones are some fancy Indian name and Debbie told us not to touch them because they sting.

We have been up since 2:00am and it’s now 8:30pm, so quite a day.  Barb is helping Fred in the kitchen for tomorrow.  We had a great time at Debbie’s.  She had Longhorns and we saw a baby Longhorn.  There are oil fields right in the middle of the cow pastures.  We met Hana, her Longarm, and had good snacks.  Of Course they had an outhouse and guess what – when they deliver batting they stick it in the outhouse.  Loved the bottle tree and their gate.

They have a big day planned for us tomorrow.  We will meet some of their quilters – one is 86 years young, a southern lady.  They all talk like me, too.  As you can see, Mokca was helping me type the blog – he is very smart.

Mom, the blue bonnets are beautiful.  All the wildflowers are awesome and it’s green here.  I will close for tonight but know tomorrow will be a day to remember – we are going out to where they rehab our wounded warriors and present about 8 quilts.

God bless you all.  Stay tuned…..
Gail

 

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