Happy 4th of July

Day 5 – Vietnam Moving Wall

Well, I can honestly say that freedom is not free. To spend 5 days at the Vietnam Moving Wall and watch the veterans and people touch the Wall, look for names and then cry, makes you realize even more the price of freedom.

Monday, Flo and I went back to the Moving Wall so we could award quilts to the Honor Guard, Vietnam veterans, all selected just for this Moving Wall. They did a great job. They had a Marine Gunny Sargent in charge and when he called, they all jumped. Made me laugh thinking how many times I did that. We surprised them with a Quilt of Honor before the closing ceremony. The staff from the weekend gathered to watch and take pictures and it was really nice.

Then, you know me, I always have a few extra quilts and we saw a guy with a Purple Heart on his hat so we honored him with a quilt. As we were walking back to the Wall so Flo could see Johnny’s name one more time, Flo ran into a high school friend, a USMC Vietnam veteran who, as she tells me, was a first boyfriend (she’s going to get me for telling this). I had one quilt left so I asked Flo, “You want to give it him?” She finally said yes and the Gunny Sargent went and called him, made him stand at attention and we presented the quilt. Big tears came down his face as Flo filled out his label. As we walked away Flo said it was a good thing we gave him a quilt. I told her he had gotten one from her and that meant a lot.

So, we ended our 5 days at the Vietnam Moving Wall. It was an emotional, hard 5 days but ones we will never forget. It makes you realize how much our freedom is taken for granted. Today when you celebrate, think about all those who are still fighting for our freedom.

I am thankful I have the QOH Family that brings peace to so many who fought for our freedom by making our “Quilted Hugs of Gratitude.” May you all have a great 4th of July.

God bless America,


We started a little later as it was Sunday and I had told the QOH crew that since Sundays are always slow, we could go later. We got there about 9:30am and boy was I wrong. We couldn’t even get the booth set up and they were buying pins and t-shirts. Flo, Debbie and Laura started our morning and we gave out our first quilt by 10:00 am and it just kept going.

After every quilt we would walk away and say boy, he needed a quilt. The one that I can’t get out of my mind is an Army veteran. When I took his hand he started to shake and he said, “oh no, give it to someone who deserves it” and started to cry. I said, “Sir, you deserve this, welcome home”.

We could catch the veterans by their hats or our good friend, Rick, would recon for us and bring them back to our booth and them not even knowing why they were coming to see us. He ran into an old friend and found out that he had served two tours in Iraq so he brought him over. When I shook his hand he started to cry and said it’s been 50 years since anyone said thank you. Flo, Rick and I were hugging the guy.

I saw a guy walk through the gate and he was walking so proud and all of his family were following him. I told the crew that there’s one and we will get him when he comes back. A few minutes go by and here comes Rick in the golf cart with the Veteran in the front seat and the whole family following. We gave him a quilt and you can see in the photo of the whole family from great grandkids and up. He was from Oakdale, CA, served in the USMC and had three Purple Hearts. You could see this family loved their father and grandfather and that they were patriotic and proud. That made us feel good.

I was sitting in the booth, and it didn’t happen too often that I got to sit, when I hear a voice say, “she doesn’t remember me”. I  looked up and it was Ken who I used to work with. We were great friends but had lost touch. I knew he was a Navy veteran and had served in Vietnam so I awarded him a quilt and also his friend who was also a Vietnam veteran. It was so great to see him. He has PTSD and has a service dog, too.

The wife of one veteran we gave to, his wife said we couldn’t have done a better job as he has prostate cancer from Agent Orange. We met so many veterans and their stories were so emotional but we knew when they walked away with that quilt, it was a day they would never forget and a visit to Stockton, CA that was memorable.

I know I have only told a few stories but there were so many. I want to thank my QOH crew who spent time in the heat – to Rick and Val who drove 1 ½ hours for three days to help us, and Laura who came from Fremont. It was a joy to have each one of you share time with us.

Quilts of Honor has gotten a good reputation and many people stopped by to say thank you and to keep up the good work.

To Karl Ross Post 16 and VFW Post 52, thank you for letting us be a part of the staff and share in the experience of the Vietnam Moving Wall.

Stay tuned for the closing of the Wall tomorrow.

God bless,

Boy, what a day of remembrance. We started early and never looked back. We gave out so many quilts that I lost count. We had a great crew, Flo, Debbie, Joyce, Renee, Linda, Rick, Val, Peg, Karen and Barbara. At times it took all of us. We were awarding quilts and selling all kinds of stuff in the booth. Some of our Quilts of Honor family came to visit us, Rita, Bob and the boys; Mom and Dad Belmont; and Sister Diane.

We all enjoyed the great ceremony. The choir sang ‘Wings’ and there was a group of bagpipers that played Amazing Grace. We awarded two quilts at the big ceremony and both guys had tears.

There were so many stories from so many veterans. I’ll try to see if I can relate. I did get to give a quilt to Bennie, a US Navy veteran female who went to the Gulf War. She is in my VA group and yes, she cried. Toward the end of the day, we gave to an active duty Army National Guard female, who had been downrange Enduring Freedom. She kept saying, “You’re going to make me cry and I don’t cry”.

We gave to a Korean War Veteran who was turning 87 years old tomorrow and had just lost his wife a month ago – they had been married for 67 years. His daughter said that this will help him so much. His smile was as big as Texas.

Then there was a guy who walked up to the booth and started looking at pins. We started asking him questions and we knew he needed a quilt. While I was getting a quilt ready, his buddy, who he served with in Vietnam, comes up and their hugging. So, out comes another quilt. I awarded the quilt – he couldn’t believe it was for him and he kept calling his wife, “look honey what they gave me”.

A USMC veteran, who also served in the Air Force, was in a total of 38 years. Boy, did he need a quilt. The USMC veteran was in Vietnam looking for prisoners of war. He gave us a $100 donation. He was so happy.

During the morning, Flo and I got to ride the golf cart scouting for a certain veteran. We finally found him looking at the Wall so we just presented the quilt right there.

I could go on forever and I hope I won’t forget all we gave to today. I will try to update tomorrow as I’m pretty tired and my brain has run out. Stay tuned until tomorrow.

God Bless,

I’ve been trying to clarify that there is a difference between the Traveling Vietnam Wall and the Moving Vietnam Wall. The Moving Wall is an exact replica of the Vietnam Wall only half the size. Names and panels are exactly the same. So, it’s pretty cool that the Moving Wall came to Stockton. The setting is so nice – it’s backed by trees and you can see the Delta in the distance.

We gave out, I think, 7 quilts today, all so spontaneous and the first two cried. This couple walked up to our booth and he was looking at the pins. He quietly asked me if we had a silver star. I told him no and then I asked him if he had one. He sheepishly said, yes, and it didn’t take me long to go for a quilt. He had served in what we called the brown water Navy, going down the rivers of Vietnam. I so enjoyed him. He couldn’t believe we were giving him a quilt. His wife said that it was the best thing that has ever happened to him.

Towards the end of the night a Marine came walking through the gate and he was carrying a big photo album. I knew this guy was a Vietnam veteran. He stopped at our booth and I asked him why he came and then he showed me the names of his buddies tattooed on his arm. I turned to go get a quilt and told Flo, Val and Rick to keep him talking. They had to stop him but it was so worth it. His whole family had served in the military. Later we heard he had his quilt out at the Wall and everyone was taking pictures of him and his quilt.

I want to thank my crew, Bonnie and Carol for staying longer to help and Rick and Val for making the 1 ½ hour drive to help out. I forgot Flo who has hung in every minute I’ve been there. Our QOH family is so giving. I’m so proud to know each one of you. You always come through.

We have been treated so nice by all the volunteer staff. They feed us and offer us water. It has been a great experience and I know tomorrow we will make more memories and help our veterans.

God Bless and stay tuned . . . . . . . . .

Many of you know that we have been working hard to build our quilt stash for the Traveling Wall coming to Stockton from June 29th thru July 3rd. We only have to travel 35 minutes and we will have a booth. We brought out the Quilt of Honor Trailer with our new decals and of course my truck got a good bath so we would shine traveling down the road. Thank God my veteran brother, Lou, was waiting for us to help us park and get our booth up. Lou is a true blessing to me and Quilts of Honor.

We got our booth “kinda” set up and then went to see the Wall. The other blessing, Flo’s husband’s name, Johnny O. Brooks, had been added to the Wall. It wasn’t on the Wall 2 years ago so it meant so much that it was there in his hometown.

They had a beautiful ceremony with Native Americans blessing the Wall and a ribbon cutting ceremony and a walk of Vietnam veterans and spouses. Flo walked with Lou – she honored Johnny and Lou.

For quite a while I have wanted to award Assemblywoman Eggman a quilt. She is a US Army veteran and does great work for the community and our State. She wasn’t surprised to see me but she was when I took her hand and said, “I have something for you.” She replied, “No”, because she knew what was about to happen. I saw tears in her eyes and I knew we ‘did good’.  I told her an Army veteran nurse, Betsy, had pieced the quilt and she asked if she was here so she could thank her. I told her I would tell Betsy that Assemblywoman Eggmen thought it was so cool that her quilt was made by two female veterans.

We have already gotten to see many friends. We saw Bob and Judy from Linden and Bob made sure he sent a gentleman named Sandy over. Sandy and his granddaughter make flag pins and he awarded Flo and me pins which was cool.

We quit early as the next few days are going to be busy and I’m sure there will be many stories. So, stay tuned . . . . . . . . . . . .

God Bless

Memorial Day 2017

Today we remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, some were killed in action and others were wounded and suffered for years. Quilts of Honor never forgets! We so understand what it is to serve and sacrifice.

Attached is a picture of Liberty, now residing at the Quilts of Honor headquarters. When I see her it reminds me of the price of freedom.

Today I’m on top of a hill in Clayton, CA playing Taps to remember all of the fallen. May everyone have a blessed day, BBQ, and be thankful for all we have.

God bless our QOH family and ….….keep quilting


Today was a nice day with some great sightseeing. We started our day heading to Hamilton, Missouri, home of the Missouri Star Quilt Company. Boy, when you say home, it’s building after building of fabric and anything quilting. I have never seen so many bolts of fabric. They even have a lot of employees and at least 4 cutting tables. The rooms were huge. I sat out most of the places and the girls would holler at me if they thought I should see something. We walked into one building and we noticed an Eagle pattern on the wall. Rita had made the same pattern.

So, the girls are having fun looking and I hear Flo say, “Gail, that’s Rob Appell, the guy on TV; get Rita-he made the eagle pattern.” Flo started talking to him while I rounded up our gang. We took pictures and we told him what we did and we all hit it off. He showed us a picture of a patriotic quilt he had made then he said, “It was God’s blessing we met.” We all felt it was one of those things that happens to us.

We left MSQC to head to a small Amish community so the girls could see another fabric shop and see how the Amish live. Of course, we all enjoyed that, too. We decided to go to an Amish cheese place. Well, it was in the boonies. We were actually on dirt roads, mouths watering, and it was closed. Back down the road we go with hardly any gas and we’re in the back country. Rita took a picture of the gas gauge and how far down the road it was. Then we hid a traffic jam—a BIG Tractor. We did get to see some beautiful country.

Now we are starving, no gas, but we finally got to civilization right in time, got gas and headed to Hamilton to find food. I had seen Hank and Tank BBQ so we went there. It was a hole in the wall but the BEST BBQ. The owner came out and talked to us and sure enough he was a Gulf war veteran and we had no quilts. I will take care of that when I get home.

We decided to go back to the hotel to rest and pack but I took another detour to see Frank and Jessie James home. Into the boonies we go again and when we get there it was closed so could only take pictures from a distance. Then we decided to go see a Mill in the same area but it’s all in the woods. When we found it, there were 20-30 people dressed in prom outfits in front of the Mill in the middle of nowhere. Guess what, the Mill is closed. We were batting 1,000. We did stop at Bolts and Cuts, another fabric store before we got back to the hotel. So I’d say the girls got their fill of fabric stores this trip. We could have gone to 20 more, that’s how many are in that area.

We saw a lot of Missouri one side to the other side, saw old friends and made new friends. We worked and played. We wore our navy sweatshirts and often had questions asked about Quilts of Honor. We learn every time we made one of these trips, we can do better on some things.

I am very thankful to my QOH crew who helped and had my back. We all enjoy our passion for Quilts of Honor and it shows in all we do.

Stay tuned for upcoming events . . . . . . . . . .

God bless