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So often we are asked, can you award a quilt for so many different reasons.  We have qualifications and we have done that because we just can’t keep up with the demand.  When we started Quilts of Honor it was always important that we reach our Wounded with PTSD as it is silent in so many.  If our quilts can bring them peace and healing and we are reaching them especially during COVID, we have done good.

The telephone rings one night and it is a LTC (Colonel) from the California National Guard.  She tells me that she had received a Quilt of Valor years ago and it meant a lot to her.  Then she said that she was working with the LA Coroner’s Office and troops have been deployed there and are in charge of carrying the bodies that have passed from COVID.  It has been overwhelming in the L.A. area of California and these troops are regular civilians and this isn’t anything they would be use to or trained for.  She said she had 22 guardsman and needed another 25.  I said, “Ma’am, you came to the right place.  I totally understand.  I am a bugler from the Vietnam era and there are many things I’ve never forgotten after 50 years.  I applaud you for thinking about your troops.”  So with the help of many, we got 22 quilts ready and 1LT Han was sent to pick up the quilts.  We gave 1LT Han our 5-cent tour all the while he was videoing us.  I even demonstrated how to award the quilt.  Right before the Lieutenant left we awarded him his quilt.  He was so thankful.  He explained to us how the Guard is now having to go out for fires, riots, and now bodies, so there are many kinds of Hero’s and I am so thankful we got to make them feel better

Here are a few of the LTC words after the troops received their quilts:  Absolutely incredible; we seriously cried; they are beautiful; the stitching is amazing; we can’t begin to thank you; it is an amazing morale booster.  Some of our troops have problems with the hotel’s having white sheets because the hospitals wrap the deceased in white sheets.  Now they have a quilt to put on the white bedcover.  It’s incredible and we are gob smacked amazing; humbling.  Thank you, LTC Farnham

Ladies and Gents, this is why we do it.  Be proud you all had a hand in helping these troops.  LTC has asked for an additional 30 quilts which we will provide in the next couple of weeks.

So, it’s been a busy, exciting January 2021.  We also are thankful to have gotten our first COVID shot.  Hard to believe we get excited about shots but lord we hope this gets our lives back to somewhat normal.

God’s blessings
Gail

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QOH Inspiration

Have you ever wondered about the background of some of our volunteers?  Today I will tell you about a volunteer from our San Antonio Texas Chapter.

Bonnie is 91 years young.  I had the honor of meeting Bonnie 5 years ago and she was producing about 20 quilt tops a week.  I remember Debbie, the Chapter Leader, saying she couldn’t keep up with Bonnie.  Bonnie, through the years, has had a couple of falls, broke a wrist and hip, had a pacemaker put in, is blind in one eye, and has limited vision in the other.  Do you think all this has stopped Bonnie?  No way!  She still does 2-3 tops a week.  What an inspiration and dedication to Quilts of Honor and what a gift to have Bonnie as one of our volunteers.

It sometimes amazes me the dedication our volunteers have and it makes me so proud.

Hope you enjoyed this story.  If you know a volunteer you would like to tell us about, drop us an email.

THANK YOU MISS BONNIE!

God’s Blessings
Gail

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We ended our year on a good note with much help on December 30th with volunteers coming to the Shop to work and volunteers turning in their tops.  You will find pretty quilt tops that were turned in during our last week.  We had a good group, Ginny, Carol, Lynne, Sue and Flo.  Ginny surprised us with a “crum a cockas” – go ahead and try to say it.  They are Swedish.  I called them cocka doodles cuz I couldn’t remember how to say them but they sure were good.  We all got a kick out of pronouncing them.  We do have a laugh now and then at the shop.

Even though this year was trying for all of us, we concurred with whatever we needed to do.  When the Old Guard at Arlington needed masks Flo, Carol and Cathy stepped up and got 130 masks made and out in a week so that they would arrive before Christmas.  Little things like this is what makes Quilts of Honor special.  We try to do our best no matter what it is.

This year we sent out what we call our Non-Event Fundraiser to many of our donors as COVID has made fundraising near impossible.  I’m blessed to report that we received numerous blessings and it showed how many believe in what we do.

In all this COVID we managed to mail close to 400 Quilts to veterans and make and donate 1,000’s of masks.  I don’t know how all of you feel but QOH has made life good through this COVID.  I am thankful that I could still do what is important – honoring our veterans.

We ended our year on the 31st with a Board meeting via Zoom.  Rita accomplished this fete as we are not the best “techy” people – we are quilters.  The Quilt tops that were turned in this year were really great.  The ladies and gents put in extra work and it shows.  So thankful to have such talented quilters.  Thank you all for making them this year.

As I close I want you all to know that I pray for each one of you to stay healthy and that someday we will meet again.

God’s Blessings and may 2021 be better for all.

Gail

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The Gift of Christmas can be seen in so many different ways.  Christmas lights have always been my thing.  I remember as a child we would always go for a ride on Christmas Eve to see the lights then we would come home and Santa had come.  We always had a big Christmas Eve with 4 parents and 7 kids, it was never dull.  Guess it is so often these childhood memories made up what we do today in our lives and how we carry on our traditions.

This year has been a trying one for all of us especially not having our family and friends close.  One thing I have learned is that every moment is special and life is short.  Make the most out of each moment God gives us.

This year has been much like when you are a soldier in a fox hole wondering when will you get out and get out safely and alive.  We have all learned to do things differently to survive.

Quilts of Honor still brings joy to each veteran we have managed to award quilts to this year.  Our Presentations have been smaller and we have mailed over 200 Quilts out of Headquarters.  We are surviving and I always say we bring the joy of Christmas all year by giving.  I’m so proud of the Chapters that have made masks and kept on quilting through all this.  It shows what a heart Quilts of Honor has wherever we reside.

Know that we miss each one of you and we pray for the day we can all quilt together.  Sending blessings to all your families.  May you all stay safe and that 2021 will be better for all of us.

Also, say an extra prayer for the veterans that are having such a hard time in this isolation.  It will mean a lot.

Happy Holidays,
Gail

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Thankful is a hard word to use this year and especially with COVID increasing everywhere.  I know many of us will have small celebrations as that is the safest and we will be missing our families that can’t come because of COVID.  My thoughts and prayers go out to those who are without family and those who are fighting this terrible virus.

Thankful, yes, that I have Quilts of Honor and our Quilts of Honor Family and the many Chapters throughout the U.S.

Thankful that, through all of this, we have still found ways to honor our veterans.

Thankful I can think of family and friends and know they are near in my heart even though we can’t be together.

Even in life it is hard at times to find things to be Thankful for.  It may be the smallest of things that makes your heart heal.  May we all look to a better Thanksgiving in times to come.

God’s Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving,
Gail

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Veterans Day 2020

Today was another different day for QOH and COVID and we did have a happy day.  I belong to the organization Taps for Veterans.  They help find buglers for live Taps at funerals and different military functions.  Their event this year was to sound taps at 11:00 on the 11th all around the United States.  I asked my veteran brother, Lou, to help me plan and the next thing I knew we had an American Legion 102 Honor Guard and it was advertised in the Valley Springs News.

Since it was Veterans Day, we couldn’t go without awarding some Quilts of Honor.  We surprised all three Navy recipients.  Our first was Dave, our Honor Guard Commander, a Navy pilot.  First thing he said was that he wished his wife was here.  The next two Navy veterans were married to each other, both now retired.  The wife said we could have given one per family and I told her it is one per veteran and she was a veteran and she replied, “Yes Ma’am.”  Made me laugh. 

We were all outside on a sunny and crisp day with our masks and thankful to be together.  Lou had all the veterans come forward and tell a little about themselves.  The hardest part of the day was Flo trying to video Taps but she actually accomplished her mission which you will hear at the end of this blog.

Taps is for all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.  May we never forget the price of freedom.

To all our QOH Chapters out there, please stay well and keep on stitchin. 

Until next time . . . . . . .
God’s Blessings,
Gail

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This Easter will be so different for everyone in the United States and one I am sure we will never forget. I bet this is how they felt in WWII with running out of supplies. We don’t have a curfew at night but we are basically home-bound.

It is not easy for many and can cause depression. I hope you all know that you can call QOH. We are here for every one of you. Sew a top and think how there are a lot of our military who are on the front lines right now helping in hospitals. Let’s pray they don’t get sick.

I know many of you are doing your part by sewing face masks. Sewers have come together from all over to make face masks. I am proud of our QOH ladies who have made so many. I know here at Headquarters I am still quilting but Flo is sewing masks like crazy as everyone keeps calling wanting big numbers of face masks.

We still have been mailing out 8-10 quilts a week all across the U.S. so we are still busy. I am blessed that I can walk into the Shop and quilt to keep my spirits up and it also helps me be thankful for what we do.

I wish each one of you a Happy Easter. I pray each of you stay well and that someday soon we will be together again.

God’s Blessings
Gail

 

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A Busy December

December started with the Legion of Valor Christmas Party on December 7th, a day that will never be forgotten. It is one more day veterans fought for our freedom. Sometimes I often wonder why our veterans are only thought about on special days instead of all year long. We honored 8 veterans with quilts. Our first two were Purple Heart recipients, both very taken by their quilts. Our last was for Denny, a Vietnam veteran. He wanted to give his quilt to a veteran he had been visiting in a VA home and had no family. We told him we would get him a quilt that he could give to his friend.

Quilts of Honor is always thinking of our veterans. I have watched as our QOH Chapters go the extra mile to get their quilts to the veterans, some driving miles just to make sure they honor the veteran. That is dedication and passion for our veterans. I am so proud of all of our QOH Chapters.

On December 10th, we went to the Lions Club to honor two veterans, both Operation Enduring Freedom. We had been trying to award the first quilt for over 2 years and never gave up, a Marine who now manages a bank. Our second quit recipient was for a veteran injured by an EOD blast. He has had over 18 surgeries on his head and has lost his eye but he has the best attitude. He told us his girlfriend stood by him through it all. They got married while he was having surgeries so she would be able to help him. They have been together 11 years and have 2 children. After he received his quilt he came up and said, “I have all kinds of medals but this quilt is the best.” Our last quilt of the night went to a Vietnam veteran no one knew or had put him in for one. We had an extra quilt in the truck so Flo fixed it up and we surprised him and all the guys when we called his name. He fought back tears big time. After the presentations, they passed the hat and we received over $1,700 – what a great night! The Linden Lions rock.

Then it was time for my VA appointment where I gave a female a quilt – she loved it. We then drove to Berkeley to present a quilt to a Gulf War veteran. I knew about this veteran for a couple of years and wanted to reach out. AnnMarie, my friend from Virginia, had reached out to him and called me and said let’s meet there and you can give him a quilt. So, AnnMarie, Tiffany and Jimmers drove straight from the airport and we met them at Ehren’s house in Berkeley. Man, how crazy are the roads in Berkeley. Every time we turned around there was another roundabout or one way street. Almost drove me crazy getting there.

We finally arrived and Ehren had no idea who we were or why we were there. Ehren had been featured in Craft in America, a special called SERVICE, in 2014. I was in the same special. Since that time I have always wanted to meet Ehren. He makes pottery mugs and expresses what he feels in his pottery and it helps his PTSD. He then gives the mugs to veterans or those suffering from PTSD. He has given over 22,000 mugs.

The first thing we did as we got in the door, was to award Ehren his quilt. He said that he had heard about the quilts but never thought he would get one. Ehren, a Marine from the Gulf War, said he didn’t come back the same and he wanted to make a difference. He had mugs already made and told me to pick out one, please take one. They were all different and you could tell they each had a story. Ehren lives right in the middle of Berkeley but his backyard was a garden that looked like a jungle – enjoy the pictures.

We got home that night by GPS and Waze taking us on the backroads through Berkeley. Boy, was that an experience. We received texts all the way home – “thank you for the quilt; It’s beautiful; everyone loves it.” It was a great night. We got to meet up with friends from Virginia and award a quilt.

We had our December Workshop and Christmas luncheon on the 18th. 47 volunteers attended and shared what they were thankful for this Christmas. It was pretty special as they always ended with how special Quilts of Honor is to them. Bonnie stood up and asked the volunteers to take up a donation for QOH and for all Gail give us. They passed a hat and by the time the day was done, they had collected over $1,000. This, to me, was a Christmas Miracle. The love of the group and the sharing, I can still see their faces as they shared. I am so proud of our QOH Family.

The month of December was very special but then again, every month is special with Quilts of Honor. Our volunteers are one of a kind with great passion for our veterans.   Thank you to everyone who support us in any way.

Merry Christmas and God’s blessings,

Gail

 

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Our Two Sentinels, Our Captain Chauffeur, Carl and Jeanine, Gail and Flo

Today was another one for the books. Thank you Catherine for setting up tours for us. We got introduced to Carla, our Point of Contact, and who became our tour guide. What a blessing Carla was. She arrived to pick us up with a Captain driving a van. He was in the United States Army and had been deployed with 10th Mountain before coming to the 3rd Guard. I kept saying that I couldn’t believe we were being chauffeured by a Captain in the United States Army.

Our first tour was to watch the Sentinels and Changing of the Guard. They let us go where the Press get to stand – boy were we close. It was hot, really hot, 90 something so we stayed in the shade. It was exciting to be so close. After The Changing of the Guard, we got to go down under the tomb. Our Sentinel explained so many different, interesting things and what each thing meant. The height requirements for Sentinels starts at 5’ 10”. Each Sentinel receives a wooden flag and on the back they write how many walks they have made. Our Sentinel had 400 walks and that’s a lot. He had been assigned for 20 months. They work 26 hours on; 30 minutes is their walk in summer and one hour walk in the winter. We then got to go downstairs and through the door to meet the Sentinels in their Guard room. There must have been 7 of them. They all stood up and shook our hands. Carla told them we were Quilts of Honor and the guys said, “Where’s our quilts?” All were nice guys. One was practicing in front of a mirror to see if he had the right stance. During the night they wear their fatigues and can walk the perimeter. They let us hold their night rifle. Think how we felt holding that gun that walked so many walks. We were very honored to be able to have the opportunity to meet these heroes.

Next we got a riding tour of the houses and who lives at Fort Myer. Our last tour was the stables with the Caissons. Of course I was like a little kid – couldn’t wait to pet the horses. We were introduced to Specialist Nelson who gave us a tour and explained how they polished and dyed the saddles. Their mornings start at 4:30am and they wash the horses for one hour. We were standing in the stables when in comes the horses for the evening with their riders. It was an awesome sight. The Caissons were right behind them. You will see a picture of a star on the side of the Caisson – it was so shinny. Our last stop was SGT York, the horse that carried President Reagan. SGT York is 29 years old and will retire and be buried at Fort Myer.

We finally ended our afternoon surprising Carla, our Guide. She is a veteran of the US Army and served 9 years but I’ll tell you this, she knows everything about the Sentinels and the Old Guard. We were blessed to have her guide us – we felt like celebrities.

We started home and ended up stopping for Mexican food with Flan for dessert. Tomorrow I am sure will bring more adventures so stay tuned . . . . . . . . .

God Bless
Gail

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Fort Belvoir/Alexandria

We are back again and this time we have many missions. Today was our first day and we gave out a Quilt before lunch. We traveled to Fort Belvoir to award a Quilt to Dr. Greene, an Air Force veteran for twelve years and is now working with patients with PTSD.

We met AnneMarie and Tiffany and surprised Dr. Greene with her Quilt. You could see the emotions in her face and she kept thanking us. It is so awesome to award these Quilts to female veterans especially those who have given so much and help veterans every day and never get thanked. We spent some time having coffee and chatting before it was time for Flo to hit the Fort Belvoir Post Exchange, one of the biggest in the United States.

After we left Fort Belvoir, we headed to Mt. Vernon’s gift shop for our annual Christmas ornament shopping. It was 93 here today until we had Boomers and Bangers. We did hit our favorite bakery before heading back to “our mansion” away from home – Carl and Jeanine’s house. We enjoyed an evening on the porch watching the thunder and lightning. We were all sitting there when thunder hit and if you ask Flo, it hit under her chair. She jumped a mile and told Jeanine, “I think we can watch from inside.” We all laughed on that one. Jeanine made a great meal and the picture is for our crew that we are missing – they all love Jeanine’s cooking.

Tomorrow we are heading to Arlington so we should really have some stories. We have two tours scheduled at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Stay tuned for more . . . . . . . . . . . .

God’s Blessings
Gail

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