Quilted Hugs Newsletter

October 2015 Newsletter link:


This is our first QOH Newsletter.  To receive future issues directly to your email inbox, please sign up on our website at http://www.quiltsofhonor.org.

Thank you to everyone who submitted their stories and photos.  It is an honor sharing your stories with our QOH Family and community.

Jan Bolli


Last Day in Texas

I would say we had a full day. We started our day at the Guenther Flour Mill where we had breakfast. As you can see it was awesome. They make pioneer mix which is sold all over and the company is still family owned. We then took off to the biggest flea market around Texas. There were over 1,000 vendors – we didn’t even last a quarter of it but we got Duffle bags full to come home.

Then we decided to go see the Missions. First one was Mission San Juan. We left there, had a great lunch/dinner at Cracker Barrel – sorry Marsha Smith. After we got our second breath, we decided to go find another Mission. We found the Mission San Jose. It was big and so beautiful. So, we said there was one more we missed and we might as well go for it. So, off we went. I have to say they were all different and all beautiful. When we got to the last Mission, (the ‘gps’ had been directing us), and looked up, we had made a complete circle around San Antonio. We didn’t even know how we did it. We ended up where we started – at the flour mill.

We went back to the hotel, rested, packed, and off we went to award the last 4 quilts to USS Blue veterans. When we entered the room, they were all starting to eat but they got quiet and said, “You’re back.” We awarded the 4 quilts, took pictures, and then Rita asked me to say something. I told the story of going to the Vietnam Wall and then we said goodbye. As the three of us walked through the room, they all stood up and clapped. As I write this I get chills for the honor they gave us.

After all that, we decided we would get some ice cream on our last night and headed over to the river. It was now 9:00 pm here and we watched a laser light show at the San Fernando Church for about 10 minutes. It was amazing to see but we were beat. I hailed a cab and back to the hotel we went.

I had been wondering how the last night really went when Rita stopped by our room to tell us some stories of actions of the men who had received their quilts. Rita said one went in the corner of the room and cried; another one said he couldn’t believe that after all these years someone would do this–he didn’t know how to take it. After we had given out the 4 quilts tonight, many of the men started to cry again. Rita also said the men were told that we had come here for a quilt show so we could surprise them but when they found out we came only for them, they were overwhelmed again. We ran into a bunch of them late tonight in the elevator and in the hall. They were still thanking us and giving us hugs and throwing kisses. We have created a bond that will last a lifetime.

We are now getting organized and ready to get up at 3:45 am to fly out. We had a great trip and we are proud to have served the USS Blue. They will forever be in our hearts.

Now we start preparing for San Diego and the Marines. Keep those stitches stitching ladies and gentlemen. We have more warriors to serve.

God bless all,

Texas – Day 4

Today was a much quieter day. After all our excitement from last night, and not much sleep, we changed our schedule today and pretty much just rested. We did get Flo to a fabric store so she could get Texas material for a quilt she is making. We also got to visit Fred and visit with Mocha, her dog. Fred put him on the treadmill so Flo and Debbie could see him run and she made a great dessert. We left early as I’m still not 100 percent and actually took a nap. Later we went to the River Walk for dinner. It began to pour with thunder and lightning – it was so nice to see rain. I think Rita had the best day – riding that longhorn in a dress.

We are still talking about last night and how great it was. Tomorrow we hope to do more sightseeing – God willing and the creek don’t rise.
Stay tuned…………..

God Bless

Texas – Day 3

What a day to remember for more ways than one!

We started our day off in a coffee shop down by the Alamo. We enjoyed seeing the Alamo – everything in downtown San Antonio is quaint. We really didn’t touch the surface but we sure have enjoyed it. We decided to take Debbie to the SAS Outlet where they make leather shoes and you can get them cheaper. She wears a certain kind of shoe so it was on our list of ‘must do’. Boy were we surprised. It was like going back in time – old restored cars, store had all wooden floors, and popcorn for 5 cents and yes, we ate some. When we left the shoe factory, we saw a Tortilla Tamale factory so in we go. Well, it was authentic Mexican. They had 5 kinds of tamales and we were starving. Flo picked the pork with jalapeno and I told her it was going to be hot. Both Debbie and Flo didn’t agree with me so we sit down to eat and after just a few bites, they said, “this is hot.” I said I told you and they hate to hear that you know. When we left the restaurant, we were fanning our mouths.

We finally got back to the hotel where we told the guys of the USS Blue that we would be gone to a quilt show so now we are incognito and have to hide from them until dinner. Boy, was that a trip. We needed to get 51 quilts to the Ballroom without anyone seeing us. I’m telling you we were hiding in the bushes around the pool trying to keep the guys from seeing us. They all know Rita so we really had to hide her. We finally got into the Ballroom, locked the doors and started setting up the quilts. We covered them and no one knew there were 51 quilts under the table. Later, when we walked into the Ballroom, we told them we were just visiting, having dinner and leaving the next day. Guess what – they all bought it.

Then it was time. Rita got up and said she had forgotten to introduce her friends. After she introduced us, I got up and spoke. We had never given 51 quilts like this before. We called out 5 names at a time then I shook each veteran’s hand and had them pull their quilts out of the cases. We did this until we had presented 51 quilts. At the end we told them they could take pictures with their quilts.

At the end, we were given a standing ovation. I was pretty worn out so I headed back to our table. When I turned around the first veteran asked if he could hug me. Before I knew it there was a line and they each took turns hugging me. Then, over in the corner, Debbie, Flo and Rita were also getting hugs. Then the pictures started. They all wanted us in the pictures. I counted 13 different quilts that we took pictures with and we didn’t have our camera at first. The comments and emotions were unbelievable. So many tears – so much laughter – so much joy. One veteran said he never would have believed something like this could happen to him. Another veteran couldn’t even talk to say thank you. Others just kept saying thank you, thank you and their wives also kept telling us thank you.

When I spoke at the end I told them this is the veteran’s quilt, not your wife’s. One came up to me and said he was going to put it on his wall but I’m not touching it now because, you’re right, it’s his. It was a very memorable night and we were so proud. I can’t thank Rita, Joyce and Estella, wives of the USS Blue, for making the quilt tops. So many kept the secret and we did surprise them all and they were thrilled.

We finally got back to our room, got into our ‘jammies’ and Rita and Dr. Bob came to the door. Dr. Bob said, “I hear you’re having pain and shortness of breath.” He checked me out and told me I needed to go to emergency. Now, you know I wasn’t happy with that! So off we go to emergency at 12:00 midnight. We finally got back to the hotel around 3:30 am after they gave had given me a shot and fixed me up. The VA Hospital was great. Debbie and Flo held my hand because I was not a happy camper – we are all fine now! We came back to the hotel and thanked God he got us through it all. I was so proud of what we pulled off and thankful for so much help to accomplish this.

Please stay tuned and I’ll try and stay out of trouble.

God bless,

Texas Day 2

Today we went to the Center for the Intrepid. It was built by Mr. Fisher in 2007 with private donations. It is a state of the art rehabilitation facility to treat amputees and burn victims. Check out the picture of where they teach our warriors to surf. We had a great tour and Fred and Debbie from our QOH Texas Chapter joined us. Also joining us on the tour was Colonel Strange and his family. When I saw the Colonel, I knew right off he was going to receive a quilt before our tour was over. His mom and dad were with him from Nebraska so Mom – I talked to them all about our family in Nebraska. Colonel Strange’s name is Patrice – does the name sound familiar. She thought what we did was the best and she hadn’t even seen what we were about to do.

We started the tour and it was better than the first time I saw it. When we got to the gun range, a young man came running down the hall to let us in the door. After we got in the room, he gave us a talk and let us hold an Army field vest – man are they heavy. When he ended his talk, he said, “Bean you can come out” and out came a Lab (dog). I asked him if it was his and he said, “Yes, I was in the Army and I have a prosthetic leg.” Right then I turned to Flo and told her to hand me a quilt. I walked up to him and shook his hand. There wasn’t a dry eye with everyone on the tour. My heart just felt so good and to see him kneeling with his dog in front of his quilt was just the greatest.

We weren’t through yet. When we finished the tour, I quickly went to the Colonel and presented him with our other quilt. His mother cried, his dad was so proud, and he told me, “I never would have thought I would get one.” Come to find out, he signed his retirement papers today and he had his change of command ceremony. He had 32 years in the Army. What an honor and who would have known we would be there today and he would be in our tour group. Those angels were watching over us again. We all walked out of there so happy – we knew we done good.

We went to lunch at Chacho, homemade tortillas and great Mexican food. They give you everything big in Texas and they were really big burritos and big ice tea. We then decided I needed to go boot shopping. Everyone had fun watching me and teasing me. Did I buy a pair? You’ll have to wait and see. While riding back to the hotel, we found a “Rent-A-Tire” store – now try and figure that out. We sure got a laugh out of it.

When we got back to the hotel, we started on our quilts.  51 quilts will be presented Thursday night to some very deserving veterans. That’s why we came to San Antonio. It is their military reunion and they have no idea what will be happening.

We did get to see one of the oldest Catholic Churches this morning. It’s all hand painted. Another great, long day but what we do is so very special and you quilters out there are such a blessing. You are making a difference. It’s been great to see Fred and Debbie again.

God bless you all and stay tuned…………

Texas and QOH

We arrived in Texas about 3:00 pm and of course it wasn’t without some type of problem. Debbie tripped on the ramp coming out of the plane and fell skinning her knee – that was real exciting. She is stiff and now has a band aid on her knee. We rented a Chevy Traverse to drive us around. The clerk upgraded us when he found out what we do – how cool! I figured since we had a bigger car we were good – WRONG! We had 5 duffle bags the size of German Shepherds plus five more suitcases. We were jammed in like sardines. Flo was in the back seat buried by suitcases. When we got to the hotel, we pried Flo out along with all that luggage. When we got inside the hotel, they were all looking at us like, you got a lot of luggage. We weren’t even in our room for more than 13 minutes when Rita and Bob came and said, “let’s go eat.” We are only about a mile from the River Walk so off we went.

I always wanted to try a Texas steak and boy was it good. Then we went on a great river ride and ended our evening with ICE CREAM. Tomorrow we tour the Center for the Intrepid – wounded warriors. We will meet Fred, our QOH coordinator here.

We enjoyed our time at the River Walk. The weather is warm but so far not bad. I did make one U-turn in the car but mostly we did a lot of walking.

God bless and stay tuned……….

I’ve been a little slow in posting to the Blog, probably because I haven’t had time to write. This past weekend we were at the Sonora Quilt Show where we awarded a total of 13 quilts. We had a great Ceremony where we awarded 9 quilts, 2 of which were to Purple Heart recipients, one from WWII. This was a first for the Sierra Quilt Guild and we had our bumps along the way. We didn’t have a microphone so I had to use my Sergeants voice. When I went to call them to attention, my voice croaked. The rest of the Ceremony I was swigging water so I could speak. Bet my crew would have liked to see me not speak.

We ended our weekend giving out two more quilts, one to a veteran who was visiting from Los Angeles with his wife. Joyce chased him down and when we gave him his quilt, he couldn’t speak and tears rolled down his face, his wife had tears too. It is so cool to be able to help our veterans heal.

Now I’m sitting in the airport trying to remember what I have done lately. We are heading to San Antonio, Texas to award 50 quilts with Debbie, Flo, Rita and Bob. It should be an interesting week. I will be posting along the way – we probably will be making many U-turns in Texas. We hope the car is big enough for us to fit 5 duffel bags, Flo’s extra large suitcase and the rest of us. We will miss Barb – she will be holding down the Fort.

God bless and stay tuned……….


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 168 other followers