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Merry Christmas To All

christmasI don’t know where the time has gone this year.  The last three weeks have been filled with honoring veterans and now it’s time for family and friends to celebrate the reason for the season, the birth of Christ.

I would like to wish all of our Quilts of Honor family a joyous Christmas.  It is a blessing to have each of you in our lives and honoring our veterans.  We give the gift of giving all year long and it takes a family of volunteers to do that.  Our QOH family is the best.

God bless you all and Merry Christmas
Gail

 

Last Day in DC

Today we got to meet up with my WAC Band Sister, Carol who has moved the DC area. She was the chauffeur driving us all over so we played tourist.

We went to the Vietnam Wall so Flo could see Johnny’s name. It was really cold but nice and sunny. Then we went to the Christmas market with over 60 booths – really different from California stuff. We had a nice lunch at the Green Turtle – what a name – then went on a tour of Shirlington, VA. You can see I tried to take pictures of every Christmas tree – they are so big and beautiful. We talked Carol into going to the variety store before heading back to Carl and Jeannine’s.

Jeannine made a great dinner and apple crisp. We could get spoiled here. We fly out at 5:30 am tomorrow and look forward to coming home. Even though I have been here for a few days, I’ve never stopped working. Our requests for events keep coming in so this next year is going to be interesting. Enjoy the pictures. Hope to see you all soon.

God bless,
Gail

 

Quite a Day in DC

Our mission today was to go to Mt. Vernon and get Christmas ornaments. Jeannine let us use her ‘hot rod’ – it’s an Audi and it was really cool and very sporty.   Plus, we didn’t have to ride the Metro.

It started pouring rain and was pretty cold but those heated seats were our lifesavers. The first thing we saw, as we walked into Mt. Vernon, was the beautiful Christmas tree. It was right where we had our quilts displayed when we were there. It really felt like we were in a special place we knew. We chatted with the help and they all remembered Quilts of Honor.

Then we went to Old Town to get ice cream and Pops and it was closed so a-shopping we went. You know we can’t stop Flo from shopping. We had a nice lunch in old town and later we went to the favorite 5 and 10 store and our famous bakery.

Pat came by and picked up the Marine Quilt and then we had a great dinner that Jeannine fixed. We really rested most of the day which is still new to me with this knee. Tomorrow we will try for better weather and hopefully visit the Wall.

All stay well and safe and keep stitching. God bless,
Gail

Sunday was one busy day. Off to Stockton Country Club for Delta A’s Car Club Christmas brunch and to award 4 quilts. Last year Flo and I attended and it was the first time in my life I had prime rib before 11:00 am. It was the best and they didn’t disappoint me either this year.

We awarded quilts to two Vietnam veterans. They had both done the same job in Vietnam – one replaced the other and they didn’t find out until years later and today they both received quilts. We also look forward every year to spending time with Andy and Carol Prokop. Andy is a good friend and CEO of United Way and a great supporter of Quilts of Honor. The Club was gracious to let us eat and run and gave us a generous donation.

We left there and headed to the Sacramento Airport. We flew Delta and they upgraded our seats since I was handicapped, so that was cool. So, Sunday was one full day.

We arrived at 11:00 pm and in bed by 12:00 midnight then got up at 5:30 am. I think we were walking zombies.

Today was really a different day for me. Always being in DC is a treat and an experience. We took the Metro as they said it was easier – Ha, is what I’m going to say about that – remember, I’m a country kid. We didn’t make a u-turn but boy, they can keep the Metro. We were pretty proud of ourselves as we did get there and back.

We had our event at the Department of Transportation – what a nice building. We were screened through security and all of us got champion badges. Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor gave us this great speech and told us we were part of 1,300 Champions selected all across the United States. I thought that was pretty cool. There were 400 of us at the reunion from 41 states. We broke off at noon to groups and Veterans Affairs was my group. We met some great female veterans and talked about Veterans Affairs. They all knew about Quilts of Honor so guess we are doing something right.

I was glad I had the chance to come. It made me realize we can make a difference and a change.

Off to bed early tonight. We will see what tomorrow brings. Thank you to those who commented on FaceBook.

God Bless,
Gail

Another adventure is about to begin. This past month, Champions of Change decided to have a reunion in Washington, DC. At first I thought it’s too much trouble to go and I am still not healed from recent knee surgery but then again, this is a once in a lifetime trip. Flo agreed to go to babysit me and carry the extra bags so I can attend. I really don’t know what to expect but I will try and update you as the event unfolds. We will get to stay at the “mansion” and spend some time with our DC family, Carl and Jeannine. We will first attend the Stockton Model A Club’s Christmas party where we will present 4 quilts. Then, we will have exactly one hour there and head to the Sacramento airport. It should be quite a day, of course in my life that’s just a regular day.

This past week we had a quilter and her husband from Citrus Heights visit thevietvetdecember2016 shop. She had heard me speak at her Guild and she wanted her husband to meet me. They couldn’t believe the shop. The best was Barb had already gotten a quilt ready. She knew I was going to award him a quilt. When I gave him his quilt he cried and his wife did too. When they got ready to leave he asked if he could buy the panel for his buddy. I asked if he was a veteran and Steve said yes, he served in Vietnam. I asked Steve if I gave him a quilt would he present it to his buddy. Steve got big tears and said what a place we had and what we do is so special. They left pretty happy and I know we made his day.

We have been mailing an average of 18 quilts a week from the requests we receive through our website. It has kept Barb, Willene and Cliff busy. It takes all day to prepare to ship that many quilts. We have 4 presentations this month so job security wouldn’t you say? Even though it is the Christmas season, it never slows for us.

I will keep you posted on how many “u-turns” it will take to get us to Champions of Change. Stay tuned……..

God bless and keep stitching,
Gail

What a week for so many of our Groups. I know, here at headquarters, these last few weeks have been crazy. We mailed over 60 Quilts – it just doesn’t seem to slow down.

I loved seeing the photos and stories on Facebook. So proud of our Quilts of Honor Groups! I didn’t get to do all I usually do as I had a partial replacement of my knee. I did get to go on Veterans Day to a short ceremony at University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. It was a beautiful Veterans Day with outside ceremony and our good friend, Andy Prokop, was there to assist us with honoring a Marine veteran. When Andy called his name, he walked forward and said, “I can’t believe this is happening to me. This is nice. I’m so honored, so surprised.” He kept saying thank you. He took his quilt and walked back to his coworkers where they held it out and looked at it. Chad must have thanked Quilts of Honor 15 times. He said it was going to take him a couple of weeks to realize this. We got to have cookies and punch so it was a good Veterans Day.

On Sunday, November 13, Flo and I drove to Concord to award a quilt at my brother’s church, The Bridge, in Concord, CA. We arrived right at the last moment but Russ introduced me and we called the veteran forward. He had no idea he was receiving a quilt. He even had this look like I’m not coming up there. When he stepped up toward me I said we are in God’s house and he knows we tell stories to get our veterans to receive their quilts so not to hold it against us. When I took his hand and said my thing, tears started streaming down his face and I knew how much his quilt meant. He later said I’m not deserving of this and I told him yes you are. He was a Vietnam veteran with a couple of tours. It was that kind of award when you knew how much he needed this quilt. That was a great end to Veterans week for me. It is always my favorite day of the year.

To our groups who went the extra mile helping honor our veterans this week, thank you. We are going to post your pictures of Veterans week for all to see with this blog.

God bless you all and keep stitching.
Gail

Branson Group

Nebraska Group

Queen B’s Group

 

 

What an honor it was to be able to award each of my Sisters quilts. I must say, Quilts of Honor volunteers went out of their way to make the most awesome quilts for them. The video below shows so much and tells a small story of why these quilts mean so much.

I have always given a small piece of my heart each time I shake a veteran’s hand and to shake my Sisters’ hands who I served with meant so much to me. I hope it meant that to all of them also. May these quilts bring healing and love.

Special thank you to Denise Shelton for making this video for Quilts of Honor.

God bless,
Gail