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Gail Update

Hi everyone,

Gail did great with surgery on Friday. The Doctor went on the conservative side replacing parts in the old right knee replacement and cleaning up scar tissue. She has been getting up on crutches and the hospital PT has already signed her off. The Doctor MAY let Gail go home Monday.

Gail is so thankful for all your prayers and also for having Rue by her side. Rue is good medicine! Of course she is still the “star”. The staff loves her.

Thank you for your continued prayers and good wishes,
Jan and Flo

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A Busy Third Week of December

Monday began by honoring Charles. Flo and I met his sister at his house so we could surprise him. Stephanie walked in the door first and then we followed. He looked at us like, who are you? I didn’t let him think about it too long before I awarded him his quilt. His wife also loved the quilt and both of them were amazed. Charles has been pretty sick so I know it meant a lot that his sister thought about him.

Today we went to Dignity Alcove, a rehabilitation home for veterans. This was our third year going there. The Native Daughters of the Golden West provided them with a nice Christmas lunch and set up bingo for them to play. Last year I sat across from a USMC veteran who hadn’t been in the program too long. We started talking and he began to cry. I remember telling him that it would get better and to just keep trying. The veterans must follow all the rules and graduate. They pick the veterans they feel are going to make it. This year they gave us a name and it didn’t ring a bell but I did say to Flo, what if it was the same guy. Since I had seen him a year ago, he had grown a long beard and was wearing his veteran’s hat proudly. When I called out, “Greg”, sure enough it was him. He got such a big grin and stood up. I told all the guys that I had met Greg last year and here he was receiving his quilt. I was so thrilled to know it was him and he had made it and maybe I had helped a little. It is days like today that make us feel so good to bring smiles to our veterans. It has definitely felt like Christmas this week. I want to especially thank Roberta Taylor for all she does for these struggling veterans. Thank you Roberta for letting us be a part of the program.

Hope all of our volunteers will have a good Christmas with family and friends. You all deserve it for all the Christmas you give all year to our veterans.

Until next time, God’s blessings,
Gail

Early Christmas at QOH Workshop

What a great day we had yesterday at our QOH Workshop. 44 volunteers from north and central California came to spend the day volunteering for Quilts of Honor. Once a year we have a special luncheon and goodies to thank our volunteers for all they do for Quilts of Honor. This year one of the gifts were patriotic sunglasses donated by United Way of San Joaquin County and our good friend Andy. You can see by the pictures that the ladies enjoyed them.

We had our lunch catered for the first time by L & M Blodgett Catering out of Escalon CA. They were great. Both ladies were really surprised when they saw what we did. Brenda has a son who is a veteran of Enduring Freedom so a quilt will now make its way to Florida.

Before our lunch, we had visitors from Modesto. Ursula had arranged for them to come for a visit but Ed, the husband, had no idea why they were coming. When we surprised him with his quilt, his eyes started to water and he grabbed onto the Quilt. He told the whole group that it was a room full of angels. Ed is a police officer and helps with families of officers killed in the line of duty. We recently had an officer killed in the line of duty and he was a Marine. I asked Ed if he could take a Quilt of Honor to the family. So, today Ed’s trip will be something he will always remember. It was also his birthday so we all sang happy birthday to him.

Our lunch was so great. We had baked ham, macaroni and cheese, two kinds of salad, and a roll. Then desert – apple crisp and cherry crisp with ice cream on top. It was so good. We got so full and had many leftovers. I really recommend if anyone needs a caterer to use these ladies. One of the ladies even grew up in Gustine where my family spent many years. We all had fun talking about who we knew.

We ended our day with our annual Board meeting with the whole board present. It was a great day.

Thank you to everyone who came. We missed those who couldn’t make it.

God Bless,
Gail

 

On November 9th we began our Veterans Day celebration at 9:00 am at North Creek Academy. The school puts on a special celebration for veterans of the students who attend the school. I had the honor last year of going with my great-niece as her veteran. When I saw what a great event this was and how many veterans were in attendance, I said next year we will honor here. So it began. The school sent out questionnaires with an RSVP so we could find our veterans. We had 22 names by our celebration date.

The school was so organized. Thelma was on the money with everything we needed. They had a table set up where we placed the quilts and covered them so no one would know. They sang the best songs and their Elementary Band, going to the 8th grade, was awesome.

When it came our turn you would think we had done this before but we hadn’t. Every ceremony seems to be different. Jamie called the names and I played SSG and told them to line up in the order their names were called and not to get out of line. They all laughed at that. I shook each veterans hand and then we had them unfold all at one time. It was beautiful. Not normally how we do it because of the time frame for the kids to get back to class but it worked out. To see all those veterans holding their quilts with big smiles was a great site, even the kids were in awe.

Right after we finished I was to go to the back of the room and play Taps. After they explained the meaning of taps, they had the kids bow their heads and Debbie said those kids were looking all over for me. It was very haunting in the Chapel and I dedicated it to my friend, Jay. May she rest in peace as this is our first Veterans Day without her.

After the ceremony we adjourned to have fruit cookies and punch with families of the veterans. That is when so many veterans came up to us and personally thanked us. One of the Marines said he had never been honored like that and he would always treasure his quilt. The Army and Navy veterans said it meant so much to them.

My great-niece, Isabelle Belmont, couldn’t make it on this special day but we made sure it was all because of her that we were at her school. They are already talking about next year.

We gave to a 95-year-old Battle of the Bulge Survivor, a Navy Seal, and three female veterans – those are just a few of the deserving we reached. Thank you to North Creek Academy of Walnut Creek, CA for letting us be a part of their patriotic tribute.

On November 10th we always celebrate the Marine Birthday at the Marine Ball with my Dad who is a Marine. This year we were lucky to have his three out of four grandchildren present. That made is very special for all of us. Thank you to Dani, Britt and Frankie for taking the time to celebrate with their Papa Belmont. We ended out night at the Casino where Dad and I each got $10 dining money for being veterans so we spent it at the bakery – both of us were happy veterans.

Today is Veterans Day and I am actually home just thankful for being a veteran and all I get to do to honor other veterans. I know all of our groups are working hard this weekend doing what is so important – honoring so many who have been forgotten. I am proud of each and every volunteer who helps us to complete our mission.

To all our Veterans out there – may it be a special day to be home with a loved one. And, today being Sunday, a special day to thank those with Gods Blessings.

To the Veterans who are in our QOH family, a special thank you as I know you know what QOH means to you.

God bless our Veterans on this special day. One very special blessing to all my sisters and one brother of the Women’s Army Corps Band.

Gail

Great Month of October

We have been so busy this past month. We had another Honor Flight on October 13th at San Francisco Airport. Diana, my sister, Flo and I drove the 2 ½ hours to San Francisco, got to the parking garage and we never get the same floor or the right terminal so we have to figure which way to go. We are standing at the elevator talking and trying to decide when a voice comes from the stairway. It was Nancy and Carmen trying to figure out the same thing. So we all walked, must have been 2 miles, but we got to our spot, got our Quilts ready and waited. So many people in the airport came up and asked what we were doing. Finally our Flight #19 came down the hall with Bagpipers leading and flags flying. Some veterans were walking and some were in wheelchairs. It’s always so patriotic and beautiful to see all the crowd part the way and applaud for the veterans.

The veterans were lined up and then the leader called their names and we awarded each one a quilt. Big smiles, hugs and kisses were given and yes, some tears, but always a great experience. We are done for the year with Honor Flights until next spring. When you experience these honor flights, you know what a gift what we do is.

Each year we have a Halloween Bunco Fundraiser. It takes a crew of many to pull it off but we have gotten pretty good at it and the people love it. Last night we had quite a few dress-ups. We always have them parade around the room and our judges vote. We had some great ones. Rita was a longarmer fat quarter with her bootie sticking out and one arm to the floor. The black eyed p’s kept everyone guessing what they were supposed to be even though they were cute. Medusa and Perseus were pretty awesome. The scary witch was scary. We had flappers and Cleopatra and Anthony – what a variety. Of course Rue and I dressed up to keep them more entertained. Debbie, Flo, Lou, and Tony dressed as Marshalls with badges, guns and hats and this year we recruited Willene’s son and grandson as Marshalls. If you stand around too long, QOH makes you work.

A good time was had by all!  We ended the night with pumpkin pies, raffle and door prizes – quite a night. The talk of the evening were the snake pumpkins and all the other pumpkins donated by Van Groningen’s as door prizes. Thank you all who donated for a great night.

This week is our monthly workshop for October. We always look forward to seeing everyone. I will miss some of it as I will be playing taps in the Honor Guard for Alex Spanos, a very special veteran who became a billionaire and donated to so many.

I know all our groups have been working hard for Veterans Day coming up and I am so proud of all of you. Keep up the great work. We are all helping to fulfill our mission one veteran at a time.

God bless
Gail

Honor Flight – San Francisco Airport

Halloween Bunco

 

 

 

Quilts of Honor in Alabama

Thursday was a full day of rehearsal then practice for taps memorial and dinner at 6:30pm. Before we started dinner I had decided to award 2 drill sergeants their own Quilts of Honor. I first went to award Gail’s. I gave her the quilt and told her to wait and tried to get Kay over to award her quilt but boy, when you give Kay a job she is focused. She didn’t even see us in the middle of the room nor see us give Gail her quilt. I finally said, “Kay, you need to come over here and stand at attention.” When I reached for her hand, she knew what was coming…she fought back those tears. Both loved their quilts and were so stoic just like drill sergeants would be. We also gave to another retired Women’s Army Corps who come to the concert and always helps us. She was very overwhelmed and a lot of sisters crowded around to see her receive her quilt, clapping and yelling.

We then had dinner and afterwards our First Sergeant thanked everyone and that is when Flo and I got called up front and were given the ‘Quilts of Honor Thank You’ plaque. That was pretty neat to stand up there…it was nice to know they recognize all our hard work.

We finally got our turn to present. We presented the first quilt and she was like, wow. Of all that we presented to, none had been told they were receiving quilts so each one was totally surprised and all gave hugs and a big thank you. We then called the next to the last one and she said, “I got one.” Well, her name was different on the roster so we kept the quilt for about a minute when they said that there was another in the back so we called her up and gave her the quilt. It hadn’t been taken out of the case so when she took it out everyone loved it. I told her we have to get a label on it and we took it back.

So, I thought we were all good and we’re cleaning up and here comes someone telling me Mayre never got a quilt. Well, we had one left that was going to someone else who hadn’t shown up so on Friday morning we presented her quilt when dress rehearsal was over. I’d say we did good. Flo changed the labels and we traded out 4 quilts when it was done. We could have given 50 quilts out…there were so many deserving women veterans. Women veterans came from all over to see the concert…farthest away was from Colorado.

During the concert we played Bubbling Woodwinds and some of us had to blow bubbles. I just threw mine out with the wand. The bubbles came out but so did the juice on our stand, on my hand and I’m trying to hold my trumpet…really wasn’t cool. I could see Flo and Gail trying to blow bubbles. Notice I said trying…nothing came out. Everyone around the bubbles got a good laugh.

We played all the services’ songs and had them stand for their service. When the Army came on it was like the place went crazy. We had the best concert – got two standing ovations. We played our hearts out and I know the brass players’ lips are sore. We all wished we didn’t live so far from each other and could band together more often.

After the concert we went to a place called Hero’s for our afterhours celebration. The place is huge but noisy…couldn’t even talk so some of us ended up out on the patio. We were all starving as we hadn’t eaten since lunch and it was 10:00pm. We all start ordering with our one waitress and the first thing she tells us is that their grill is closed. We could only have certain things and she gives us a menu. We all order then she comes back and says we’re out of that so we order something else. Each time she comes back and says ‘they are out of that’ we would change our order to something else. Finally I say ‘mac and cheese’. Now people who know me know that is my favorite. She says, “Oh we have that.” So, I am happy then she comes back and says “no Mac” and ran out the door. Now I am not happy. I jump up from the table and said, “I’m going to the cook.” Everyone at the tables were laughing as I head out the door. I would have gotten to the cook had the waitress not ran so fast. I went back into this huge room where my other sisters were eating by this time. Denise came thinking she is going to have to bail me out. We’re telling them we can’t get food and they gave us chips and salsa so we head back to the patio and walk in with this tray and I said, “Here you go ladies…one chip each.” Those darn chips were so stale but we still ate them. We barely had anything good and they call that place Hero’s – they weren’t to us.

We had a great concert. We didn’t have much free time but we made beautiful music together and enjoyed so much getting to spend time with my sisters. We made new friends and new memories. Our bond is never ending and we all know that. The night of the concert was 49 years since I raised my hand to serve my country. That is truly hard to believe. One of my sisters, Pat, enlisted on the same day and we ended up in the same company in basic then went into the band together and have the same birthdays. She gave me a beautiful trumpet pin and earrings. She said when we hit 50 years it’s wouldn’t be a band reunion year. That was very thoughtful of her.

Rue was a big hit and she was so good. She learned to listen and would even perk up when the trumpets played. The sisters would watch her and she sat in the church pew like a human. They all said she calmed them. She got two best friends, Kay and Gail. They had lost their dog and really took to Rue and that helped Flo babysit while I played. We had one pew of service dogs, two little ones besides Rue, that everyone took turns petting – Coby, a little poodle, and Diva, Bichon breed, so we had quite a mix.

It’s been quite a week and we will hit the floor running when we get home. We have Honor Flight the 13th and I have the doctor, too. I feel blessed to be able to honor so many veterans and be a part of Quilts of Honor and the Women’s Army Corps Band. I also want to thank Cyndy for documenting our music and stories and Denise for making and recording the concert.

God bless until our next adventure,
Gail

 

We have had a full day – dress rehearsal for 2 ½ hours – but we did manage to award a quilt to a band member we had missed. I know she was proud as we presented it to her in front of all her sisters.

This trip Flo changed two labels on quilts and we used all of the quilts we brought as extras. Every time we thought, ok we’re done, they would say ‘this one’ and I would think are we pulling these out of a hat?

We are now sitting in the chapel preparing for our concert. I will write as soon as I can and show you all our pictures. Stay tuned . . . . . . . .

God Bless
Gail