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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

 

We had an exciting day Sunday – the California Vietnam Veterans placed Johnny O. Brooks’ name on their Memorial Wall.  Most of you know that Johnny was married to Flora, known to us as Flo.  She is a QOH Board member and gives her passion to Quilts of Honor.  She knows what a wounded warrior suffers.  Debbie, Carl and I went to support Flo as they read the names that had been added to the Wall.  Johnny passed in 2011 but we never forget what he sacrificed.  It was an honor to accompany Flo.  She gave Johnny her best for 41 years and we are proud she is a part of the Quilts of Honor family.

Barbara and I will be flying to San Antonio, Texas on Monday to meet our QOH Group and spend a couple of days.  Fred promises me Longhorns and cow patties – should be right up my alley.  So stay tuned for another adventure.

God bless,
Gail

Merry Christmas

We had a great Christmas party at our December Workshop.  Santa paid us a visit and everyone sat on his lap – he even gave everyone gifts.  We had a great potluck!  Not only are our quilters great quilters but great cooks!  Everyone always enjoys each other’s company and we catch up on the last month.  Show and tell is always interesting with wonderful new quilt tops and great comments.  Thank you to all who continue to come each month.

During the month of December we mailed out over 25 quilts – our Elves have been pretty busy.  We attended a Christmas party for the Veterans Brotherhood and awarded 12 quilts.  One recipient told us he came home in 1968 and nobody cared about him and that his quilt meant the world to him.  Another recipient said he still couldn’t believe he had a Quilt of Honor and that he didn’t deserve it.  Our quilts to these forgotten warriors are truly thanking them for their service – they get it.

As we end another year, we will soon start again but we will never forget.

God bless and Merry Christmas,
Gail

QOH Workshop and Christmas Party – December 17, 2014

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