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Homeward Bound

Our time has come to an end with Quilted Hugs of Gratitude in Brainerd, Minnesota. Flo, Rue and I can’t thank Marcia and Sue enough for the great hospitality. They went out of their way, I think they would say the Minnesota Way, to show us around and make us comfortable. It was a short trip but we all learned from each other. They have their group so organized but I knew it would be that way knowing Marcia.

The ladies that help sew for our veterans have stuck with it since 2005, just like us. That is dedication. I am proud that they can be a part of our family. The quilts they made were beautiful and you could tell they took pride in honoring our veterans.

We enjoyed seeing all the sites and hope one day to come back. We drove back to Minneapolis but stopped at Gruber’s Quilt Shop as they are a drop-off point for Quilts of Honor. I introduced myself to the owner and she said good things about Quilts of Honor. I will say this, I have seen a ton of quilt shops through the years but this is the largest I have ever seen. The fabric went for days. They had their own café and quilt retreat, and a group of ladies were eating lunch and playing cards. Flo got more fabric but didn’t get her Minnesota fabric. We made a slight detour to the Outlet Mall but we were back on the road in short time. I never knew the Mississippi River was in Minnesota. We must have crossed it 15 times, and all the lakes! I would say, “Look Flo, water again.”

We are now in the plane heading home. Rue is at my feet – she has been so good. See you all soon.

God’s blessings,
Gail

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Here in Minnesota if you ask a question about something, they say, “That’s the Minnesota Way.” Or, if they do something, “Oh, that’s the Minnesota Way,” so I have sure learned a lot about the Minnesota way. One thing for sure is that they are very, very nice people and very giving.

We started our morning with a nice breakfast with Sue and John and then out to the backyard for an Eagle hunt. We didn’t have much time before we were to meet Marcia at Cherrywood Fabrics for a tour of their facility where they dye the fabric. It was a great tour and yes, Flo bought fabric. We left there and went to the Northern Lakes Senior Living where we were to have our potluck and ceremony. We got the quilts in and Marcia and I decided to change one quilt so Flo sewed on a new label. The ladies started to arrive for the potluck. It was nice that we could spend time with the ladies and the food was great. Marcia made rhubarb slushy – it’s popular here.

We started the ceremony and the Honor Guard brought in the flags then we sang the National Anthem. Sandy, the activity leader, started the program. We sang Battle Hymn of the Republic and Americas the Beautiful – everyone was singing. Sandy introduced me, I said a few words and then we started presenting quilts. Marcia read the names and I presented the quilts. I would shake the veteran’s hand and then Sue would unfold the quilt so the veteran and the crowd could see. You could hear the ooh’s and aah’s as the quilts came out. One veteran said, “That’s impressive,” and another said, “that’s awesome.” We sang God Bless America and we closed with me playing Taps. The quilts were beautiful and we all enjoyed our time at Northern Lakes Senior Living.

We left Northern Lakes Senior Living and headed to Country Fabrics and Quilting store. This is where Deb, the owner of the store, lets the QOH Group meet and have space for all their fabrics. We presented the owner with a Certificate thanking her for supporting Quilted Hugs of Gratitude. After we left there we went to another quilt shop down the road called Colorz Quilt Shop. I was hoping after three quilt shops in one day that Flo would be happy.

We had a nice dinner and finished the day back at Sue and Johns. I headed out to see if we could catch an Eagle but no luck – what a day. Met new people and did what we love – honoring veterans.

Wednesday we will head back to Minneapolis to catch an early flight home on Thursday morning. It has been a great trip and so thankful to be able to come and meet the ladies of Quilted Hugs of Gratitude.

God Blessings,
Gail

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What a day yesterday. We met Marcia and Sue for lunch at the canteen across from Camp Ripley. After lunch we headed into Camp Ripley, now Minnesota’s National Guard Post. We went to the Army Museum that was open to visitors. It was quite a Museum with a large vehicle, airplane, and tank display. We really enjoyed All of it. Then we went to the Environmental On-Post and they had wildlife preserved that had lived on the Post – over 250 species. They were all stuffed. Sue and Marcia sweet talked the people so we could get into see the Exhibit. Rue did great – didn’t let that stuffed Wolf bother her.

After we left Camp Ripley we stopped at the Minnesota National Cemetery to see the painting Charles Kapsner, from Little Falls, had painted of the services. The Air Force is still being completed.

We then headed to Sue’s house, where we are staying, on Gull Lake. It is so beautiful, built in the woods on the lake and guess what – they get Eagles. We saw three and yes I went nuts. Wish I had my big camera – I would have went crazy. I did use my phone but I think we only got a spec in the picture. It was hard to leave there and head to dinner and then to speak. We did have a great day and evening.

I will write more of our day after the Ceremony on Tuesday.

Stay tuned . . . . . . . . . .

God’s blessings,
Gail

 

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Flo, Rue and I made it to Minnesota, land of the saying “10,000 lakes” but really there are 11,842. I’m not going to say we will see them all. We decided Sunday would be our day off as we traveled all day Saturday. First we going to head to Minnehaha Falls and Park. We started down the freeway and I see a sign that said “Ft. Snelling Historic Site” so off the freeway we go – you know us – you never know where we will land. This was so interesting. First we saw the Mississippi where Ft. Snelling is nestled among the trees next to the river. We got into the Park free as a veteran so you know I was happy – we saved $24.00. We took pictures to explain some of what we saw. I was surprised to find out that the Japanese Americans were trained in language here at Ft. Snelling and some of the guys we gave quilts to, a few years back, were pictured on the wall.

We also learned that Japanese American women from the Women’s Army Corps were trained there for a short time. So, I walked back into history and came forward to today and Quilts of Honor made history by awarding these men Quilts. The Women’s Army Corps is part of my history so I was proud to see the exhibit.

We proceeded to walk towards the Fort when there sits a golf cart with a driver. We asked him if he was giving rides and he said, sure, but he had never given one to a dog, too. I told him she loves the golf cart so up goes Rue and that driver got the biggest grin. He asked what her name was and I told him Rue. He said, “Welcome Rue.”

We got to Ft. Snelling and I had to get to the top of the tower for my “Flag” picture. Most people know I am pretty crazy about the flag. Flo saw those stairs and she said, “I’ll rest,” so me and Rue got up there – the view was awesome. We really enjoyed our side trip, and our cart driver was waiting for us when we finished. Oh, the Gift Shop had a book for 50 rhubarb recipes so I was a happy camper.

Then off we headed to Minnehaha Park and Falls.   We wanted to just see the Falls and when we got to the Park, we discovered you have to pay to park. We see “handicap” so we pull in, thankful we got parking for free. We get out and people are walking everywhere so we asked this lady where the Falls were and she tells us down the road so, back in the car. We must have passed 5 parking lots, all full. One even had a traffic jam. We finally got our handicap spot and headed down the walkway to the Falls. There were families all over but it is a huge Park. There were families riding 4 people bicycles – where was Rita and Debbie when you need them. I know we would have been on one of those bikes, probably cracking up laughing and not peddling. The Falls were beautiful. It really hasn’t been that humid weather wise. We enjoyed seeing so many families enjoying the Parks and Mall.

We left the Park to go hit the Great American Mall. Oh, Lordy, is that place big. I kept saying to Flo, look at that, oh my look at that. The amusement parks, we saw 3, and we were only in a corner of the Mall. We found a Vera Bradley store for Barbara and yes, we went in and Rue was the talk of the store. Yes, we bought something and they even give a veteran’s discount. It took us a while to find or way back but we enjoyed our time. It was the cleanest, prettiest mall I have ever seen and the places to eat, they had it. They even had Forest Gump Shrimp and you know we passed that place up.

So, quite a day but I would say we were doing good seeing sites. Stay tuned for tomorrow as we meet the rest of our Quilts of Honor Family and meet the Quilted Hugs of Gratitude group in Brainerd, Minnesota.

Gods Blessings,
Gail

 

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Today is Quilts of Honor’s 9th Anniversary. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought we all would be honoring our veterans for so many years. All I wanted to do was honor my brothers and sisters and, because I could quilt, this was for me. I will always thank Marcia Stevens for sending that newsletter out asking Longarmers to get involved. Little did I know it would change my life.

My heart reached out to my brothers and sisters as I could feel their pain and see it in their faces as I shook their hands thanking them for their sacrifice to our country. Many had tears streaming down their faces but not me. Often people would ask, “How can you do this and not cry?” Soldiers don’t cry but inside I was, and little did I know I would be diagnosed with PTSD. This only gave me the passion to keep on no matter what happened in my life. I have been asked, what if I can’t do this, and my answer is, “I will do it until I can’t.”

I have often told people interested in making Quilts for our veterans that it will take over your life. One day I got a call from Quilts of Honor Texas and Debbie said, “Gail, I need a bigger Longarm. You were right. Quilts of Honor has taken over my life.” Texas is so busy and doing a great job.

Then there is Wisconsin South East who just keeps on making quilts – they even had to buy a bigger Longarm. Here we are, all volunteers, and everyone puts their hearts and souls into making these quilts. I’m sure we are helping to keep fabric and Longarm companies in business.

I never envisioned we would grow into what it is today. We now have 12 Chapters in different states all working in their areas to honor our veterans plus our Headquarters here in Valley Springs. We mail to those veterans outside of the Chapters’ areas.

With everyone in Quilts of Honor being a volunteer, it is amazing to see the hours so many have dedicated through the years to honor our veterans. I always say there are no egos in Quilts of Honor. It’s about the veterans! I am so proud of all that has started from the very beginning and has just kept on growing.

I would like to welcome Quilted Hugs of Gratitude Minnesota to our Quilts of Honor Family.  On May 1st we will welcome a new group in Illinois to our Family.

Thank you to all of our Chapters.  We appreciate you all for being a part of our Quilts of Honor Family.

Thank you to all who have stayed with Quilts of Honor these past 9 years and have made it what it is today. It takes many to do what we do and every volunteer is needed no matter how you help.

God’s Blessings
Gail

PS: Have you groups and friends sign up for our Blog https://quiltsofhonor.wordpress.com/ and the QOH Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/134434059904991/

 

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Merry Christmas

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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

 

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