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Posts Tagged ‘Washington DC’

DC Adventure

Well, we are on the road again.  We started at “0-dark-thirty”, picked Willene up at 3:15am and headed to the Sacramento Airport.  On our way a skunk crossed in front of us and we all thanked God we didn’t hit him.  That wouldn’t have been good.

We got to our flight on time and met up with Rick, Val and Rita.  So six of us will be honoring our veterans this week.

We had an hour delay in Chicago but at least we got in at a good time.  AnnMarie and Tiff met our crew and helped with luggage and getting them to Carl and Jeanine’s and yes, we are all staying at the mansion.  Rick, Val and I got the rental car and this kid is so happy – we got a blue Yukon GMC 2021 and it fits us all with room to spare but it did cost an arm and a leg.

Jeanine had a great dinner for us and made homemade brownies.  We brought Carl a pie and we babied it all the way – he loved it.  After dinner we started sorting quilts to be ready for our first event.  We got our work cut out for us but we all can’t wait.

Stay tuned to hear our stories . . . . . . . .

God’s blessings,

Gail

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What a day we had on Saturday finishing presentation cases, envelopes for back of quilts, and signature blocks.  Carl and Lynne packed the quilts in our duffel bags donated by Wal-Mart and embroidered by Sam.  Carl decided we are definitely a sweat shop after packing 106 quilts.  Pilot Freight will carry our quilts to Melissa’s door step for safe keeping until the show.  It is still hard for me to believe we will soon be there.

The work that it has taken is truly unbelievable – the man hours are truly a labor of love by everyone that has helped to do this and to even get us there.  Behind the scenes Jan is making cards for quilts and admin stuff, Myra is still doing lineups of the quilts, and Barbara never leaves the computer and trying to organize and keep my schedule.  Willene is filling quilt requests received from the website, sending invitations and emails.  Jeanine is our best cheerleader.  Flo, Carolyn, Edy, Joyce, Rene, Cora, Nancy, Kay, Linda, Sheila, Marsha, Bobbie, Kathie, Laurie and Donna have all be working on bindings, cases, envelopes, and anything I have asked for in the past few months.  Sochi has been working on our new website and raising funds.  Delphia has been quilting on Abigail and helping us with bindings and cases.  Then there is Debbie trying to track our money and Pauline setting up hotel rooms and events for DC.  I couldn’t leave out Mom and Dad Belmont – always there – and Diana getting Wal-Mart involved.  I hope I didn’t forget anyone – please forgive me if I did!   I so appreciate all of you so much – this really has been team work.

I know for some it has been stressful as not all of us are retired and make Quilts of Honor when we have time and time is so valuable to us all as we balance our lives.  I truly thank all that give your time to Quilts of Honor.  We are all volunteers and sometimes it’s hard to forget that.  We all work so hard at Quilts of Honor – thank you will never be enough.

I want to thank Karl Ross Post 16 and the United Way of San Joaquin County for the great fundraiser they put on for us last weekend.  We all had a great time, made new friends, and are looking forward to next year.

With all our groups working for DC, everyone has still kept giving quilts in their areas.  Fred and Debbie are going like gangbusters and the Devine Quilt Guild has stepped up to help them with a ceremony of 16 Quilts of Honor.  Schoolhouse Quilters and Quilts of Honor CA sent a total of 12 quilts to a 9/11 ceremony in New York.  Tina in Kansas had a golf tournament for Quilts of Honor Kansas.  So, we continue to grow and spread the word.

God bless all who have supported us to reach our wounded,
Gail

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I’ll begin on the Fourth of July –  Barbara and I went to the dedication of our Service Flag Poles at our new Veterans’ Hall.  I dressed in my Honor Guard uniform, in 100 degree weather and stood in the sun to perform the ceremony.  I played to the colors then each service flag was raised on its new pole.  It was so cool to watch even though we were all getting heat stroke.  After the ceremony, I changed back into my civilian clothes, jumped in the truck and drove ½ hour down the road to the Angels Camp celebration.  Flo and Ruth met us to help and to enjoy the rest of our day.  I guess it was about 110 degrees – at least that’s how it felt.  We set up our booth and got ready for the next ceremony.

We were just trying to cool off when it was time to begin again.  I went to change my clothes back into my uniform but when I got the restroom and looked at those long uniform pants, the sweat running down my face, I said, “self, they won’t know you’re a girl bugler – you do what you want.”  So, off I went in my navy blue shorts and uniform shirt.  Nobody really noticed and I even had my tennis shoes on – thank God my first sergeant wasn’t around!   I played to the colors as the VFW carried all the service flags and our American flag through the trees.  Then the band started the National Anthem – it was a great tribute to Independence Day.  We awarded 4 quilts and the one that really got to me was a 95 year old WWII veteran from Pearl Harbor.  He received a Purple Heart after getting shrapnel in his arm from his ship being blown up.  I knew the veteran standing in front of me was a hero and piece of history.  What an honor!  We had a great day and loved the music by the Navy Sea Cadet Band – the only one of its kind – they are 14 – 18 years old.

When all was finished, I changed clothes, again.  I did learn that you can’t wear a tennis shoe on one foot and a military shoe on the other – it looks kind of funny.  That told me I really need to watch what I’m doing.

The rest of the weekend was free so I spent the days quilting.  On Monday, there we went again.  I played taps at noon, went back to the Shop and worked a little, then headed to Turlock for a QOH ceremony.  The Guild honored 7 veterans, one being a female Marine from Vietnam who told us she was trained as a sniper but when the women got to Vietnam, they were the one going into the tunnels.

On Tuesday I went to Modesto Crossroads Quilters’ award ceremony where we awarded 9 quilts.  It was a great evening.  The Guild treated me to a great dinner at Olive Garden and gave Quilts of Honor a generous donation.

Thank you to both Guilds for the honor of awarding quilts at their ceremonies.

One night we honored a WWII female Army Nurse, Ellen, who has volunteered for years to help our veterans.  We surprised her at the VFW meeting and hid her family until the presentation.  She was speechless – the whole place was clapping and yelling.  I know she will never forget her honor.

This month has just been a whirlwind.  We have mailed out over 15 Quilts of Honor.  All of our groups are busy as bees quilting and doing ceremonies.  Almost every day a Quilt of Honor is given to someone somewhere in the good old USA.

We made it to the big time this month.  Kate, our volunteer writer, got us in the McCall’s Quilting Magazine, September/October issue, page 10 with information about our October Quilt Show in DC.  Go buy your copy – we are all so proud.

Most every day and night I have been quilting for DC so I’m sorry I haven’t kept up with the Blog.  Our news grows every day.  The latest – we have a military transport to fly our quilts to DC!  I will keep you posted on this but we feel so honored that they want to help.

We have three ceremonies this month and one in September before our Big One.  So we just keep on quilting.  Our July workshop was an event of the year.  We had over 40 persons in attendance.  We awarded a quilt to a Vietnam Veteran.  It was a booming day – you can tell by the photo of the Shop.  Dad Belmont cooked over 40 legs of chicken and not one was left.  We had the Fabric Garden Quilters and that made it special for them as they saw Robert get his quilt.

Quilts of Honor East has picked up and started doing events.  They all went to a Washington Nationals Baseball game and had a booth – next, they are off to the Fair.  They also awarded a quilt at the National Marine Museum to Travis, a wounded warrior who is having a house built by the Gary Sinise Foundation.

So, Quilts of Honor family and friends, we continue to do our mission.  I am so proud of all of you for stepping up every time we need help or quilts!

God bless you all,

Gail

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Hi to everyone on one of my favorite days of the year.  There are parades, good food, flags everywhere, and fireworks.  I’m just like the kids – I have to try all the fireworks and, of course, there is never a dull moment with me and fireworks.  Everybody be safe and have a great 4th and remember, Freedom is never free!

I would like to take this time to tell you about Morgan who heard from his grandmother what Quilts of Honor does.  Morgan is 13 years old and lives in Modesto, CA.  He belongs to 4H and is raising a pig that he will soon take to the Fair.  He was actually in the last two weeks of working with his pig when he found out about our Patriotic Quilt Show.  His grandmother owns Creative Needles, a small needlework/fabric shop.  Morgan got on the QOH website and saw that he could make a quilt top but it had to be in by the end of June if I was to quilt it.  He picked his own material, was shown the basics, and he was off and running.  Only one problem.  His parents told him he had to stay home and take care of his pig.  Morgan wouldn’t give up.  He told his Dad how these men and women fought for our country and how much these quilts helped them.  Dad finally told Morgan he had 4 days to do this so Dad took over pig duty and Morgan began his mission.  He picked his pattern, cut his own material, and his quilt is square and measures perfect to be hung in DC.  He even wrote his own story.  His grandmother called me and said Morgan wants to meet you and bring his quilt.  What a pleasure to meet a wonderful mannered young boy and of course when he came into the shop wearing Wrangler jeans and cowboy boots, I knew we had a keeper.  I awarded Morgan with a Quilt of Honor pin and promised I would get a picture of whomever receives his quilt.  What a gift to have a young man understand what we do.  The quilt is awesome and will make a Marine very happy.

The quilts are coming along for DC – this should be an awesome show.  Please remember this is a Patriotic Quilt Show.  Quilts of Honor always requires that all QOH quilts be patriotic or Americana colors (red, white and blue – military colors and golds may also be worked into the quilt). Remember – red, white and blue are the colors our military serve under and that is what it’s all about when we thank them for their service and sacrifice. We won’t award quilts that do not meet this criteria.

For me, every quilt is beautiful and they all have a home but ours will always be patriotic.  I often get asked if we want non-patriotic colors and I tell them we can sell them to put money back into QOH or find cancer patients, etc. who would find comfort in a quilt.

I hope I haven’t offended anyone.  You can do so much with the right colors.  Think to yourself of what our country means and what freedom means and you won’t go wrong.

God bless all of you for continuing to support Quilts of Honor.  We have grown everyday because we all have a passion to heal those who served so bravely.

Gail

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How do I begin describing such an incredible weekend and get it right so you all can feel what I wish everyone of you could feel.  Some of you have never delivered a quilt in person or attended a Patriotic event that makes Quilts of Honor so special.  You do the hard work, stay home and sew, sew, sew.  I hope you will be able to feel all the great things that happened this weekend as we honored all our Veterans and those who sacrificed it all.

On Friday Night I met Sochi in Stockton.  Most of you don’t know who she is as she has been behind the scenes, but get use to her name.  I think after this weekend, she’s hooked.  I had never attended this event before and remember, I’m a home body and taking off my jeans and boots to dress up – Oh, boy – what you do to get QOH out there.  Both of us were late as we got lost on the way – par for the course I guess.  We were seated at Table 2, right up front next to the stage and I’m thinking couldn’t we have been in the back like hiding.  As I was introduced to everyone at the table I realized I was sitting with two different fathers who had lost their sons, a grandmother and teenage sister who had lost their grandson and brother.  When the music started the soloist belted out every patriotic song you could think of and you could feel the emotion in the room.  What a start to a big weekend.

Sitting at the table next to us was Ronnie, a wounded warrior who had been burned over 95% of his body.  When he got up to speak, standing next to him was an older man whose son saved Ronnie’s life but lost his in battle.  Then the Admiral of the Navy, who came from DC to honor the fallen, spoke about what the Medics in the Navy go through on the battlefield.  Later I met him and he said our quilts are the best and he had handed out many in his career.  He wanted me to thank all the ladies who make our quilts.  Then, to top it off, they introduced a wounded warrior from Texas, Allen, who had lost both legs in Vietnam – that’s another story.  If every one of you could have been at that dinner, your tears would have flowed.

On Sunday, Debbie and I took off to meet Flo and spend the day in Manteca, CA at the “Not Forgotten…Honoring All Who Served, Remembering All Who Have Fallen” event.  We had never attended this event – it was the 10th year.  We set up our booth even though it was pretty windy and sometimes we thought the tent was going to be a kite.  We couldn’t hang our quilts like we wanted but I guess we did good – we made the most money we ever made at a show selling t-shirts and raffle tickets for a quilt.  We never really got to view the goings on as we were always busy.

Our first quilt was awarded to a woman active duty Sergeant.  She walked in to see the quilts and began telling us that she had gotten back from Afghanistan – I turned and reached for a quilt.  She kept saying, “For me? I can’t believe this.”  Her husband just kept taking pictures.

Then up walks a couple with a child.  The Dad looked down at our pin case and I asked him if he was a veteran – he said yes.  I reached in the case and gave him a Veterans Pin – this big young man began to cry.  Debbie and I looked at each other.  I asked him if he had a quilt and he said he received one when he was in the wounded and in the hospital.  He said his mom had taken it and had lost it.  Here I go again – I got a quilt out, took his hand to thank him for his service and told him, “This is yours.”  He started to cry and couldn’t talk.  When they left, Debbie and I said it was going to be a long day.

We sell Pins in two display cases – we don’t have a lot but they do look and often buy a pin.  Then, here comes another guy – he sees the Purple Heart pins and says he needs one please.  He said he was wounded in Vietnam – we just gave him a pin.  When Debbie gave him that pin he started crying and hugging her.  After he walked away, Debbie said this is too much.

Another Veteran came to the booth and asked for two Purple Hearts – he was a Vietnam veteran.  I walked over, got a quilt and presented it to him.  He said, “no way you’re giving it to me.”  I said yes we were and you could see his smile.

Flo had been helping in the booth but had to leave to go pick up her mother-in-law.  When she got back we told her what she had missed.  Then up walks another guy – “Purple Heart pin please.”  Well, by this time I was ready and out came another quilt.  I handed it to him and he began to cry.  Flo’s mother-in-law was sitting in a chair watching,  Daniel was so emotional he couldn’t tell us his name and took his driver’s license out of his wallet and of course hugging on Debbie crying.  When Daniel had left, Flo’s mother-in-law walked up to me, put both her arms on my shoulders and said, “Gail I had no idea what this was like.  Flo tells me how proud she is to do this but when you see how thankful they are, it’s unbelievable.  I’m so glad I could see this.”  Ruth is in her 80’s and lost her son from the Vietnam War through injuries.  Ruth watched Flo take care of Johnny for 41 years.

We also awarded to Earl the Pearl Watson, WWII.  He had been a bodyguard to Elvis Presley and what stories this man can tell.  He gave Quilts of Honor his book and told me he is working on a movie and would put the quilt in the movie so maybe the quilt will be famous.

Then we gave to Allen Clark, a Silver Star recipient from Vietnam who had lost both his legs.  I didn’t know he was speaking at the event so when I heard his voice, off I went to the stage.  I just walked right out there in front of tons of people and Pastor Mike said this is a Quilt of Honor and asked how many we had done.  I answered and then headed to Allen.  He kept saying this is so nice and held up his case and then we took out the quilt and everyone ooed and ahhed.  Back to the booth I went.  All day long Sochi followed us and saw how busy the booth was.  We sold over 40 T-shirts.

Our last quilt was given to Pastor Mike, and Vietnam Veteran.  Congressman Jeff Denham came to the booth so he could honor Pastor Mike, too.  The Congressman is a big man – I stepped on his foot by accident and said excuse me then looked at his foot and said, “Sir, you have a big foot.”  He cracked up.  He said this is a great thing we are doing and Sochi took pictures of us in front of the flag with the quilt and Pastor Mike – what a photo op that was.

We got to talk to the Admiral of the Navy who is in charge of wounded and medics in DC and he is planning on coming to the show.

Everywhere we turned this weekend I would say God blessed us.  I finished my weekend honoring all with taps at Ripon Cemetery with my Women’s Army Corps Band Sister, Linda.

So, what a great Memorial Weekend we had.  I still will be playing Bugle Calls for the school on Wednesday but hope things will go back to ‘some kind’ of normal.  Thank you to all who helped this weekend and to all who had events.

Bexar County, Texas drove through floods to award quilts over the weekend – that is dedication – thank you and God bless you.  School House Quilters are going like gang busters and when we all get together in DC, they better look out.

Until next time, God bless and keep up the quilting – the need is great.

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Gail

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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to write a Blog post only to get sidetracked for one reason or another.

On May 4th we received our new Longarm quilter – we’ve decided to name her Abigail, or Abbey.  We spent all day training to use her.  To give you an idea of my days, lets start with May 5th.  I drove 40 minutes to go to a 2 hour Grant meeting.  While I was in the meeting, I’m receiving and answering texts back and forth.  I got out of the meeting at 11:00 am, jump in my car and head to my next appointment with an embroidery company driving all the way on Bluetooth trying to solve flights for DC.  I leave there and drive 40 minutes to speak to the Oakdale Women’s Club – I did get free lunch.  After I finished speaking, I drove home, changed into my Honor Guard uniform for the American Legion Post Everlasting event where I played taps.  I finished my night sometime after 9:00 pm – no quilting that day.

On May 14th we headed to Linden, CA where we awarded 5 QOH to different generations – the oldest being 90 years old – from WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.  We are already set up for next year at the Linden Lyons Club – they have veterans in line for quilts.  In between we have been learning our new machine and working to keep our groups up-to-date.

We started this past Wednesday with our County Fair.  On Thursday evening we were on the main stage and awarded 4 quilts.  On Saturday we awarded a quilt to a Vietnam veteran who had graduated from West Point – his face shows it all.  I got two kisses and everyone says he now wants to marry me.  As we sit in our booth – sometimes it is slow which is hard for me – a cowboy comes up to the booth.  I love cowboys!  It wasn’t but a few seconds and I knew his background and his wife’s so there went the next quilt and his face shows it all.  A first for us was awarding a quilt to a husband a wife – one Army and one Coast Guard.  Today we will finish at the Fair.  Next weekend is Memorial weekend and I’m always somewhere playing taps.

Our QOH Workshop is this Wednesday, May 22nd, and I’m looking forward to seeing our group.

Also this weekend the Oshkosh Group Patchwork Patriots were doing a quilting marathon and at last update, 15 tops had been completed – way to go Patriots of Oshkosh, WI.  I also can’t forget the East Coast who had a ‘Chick-fil-A’ night for Quilts of Honor.  Bexar County, TX had an awards ceremony and Kansas Quilts of Honor awarded quilts.   So from the East Coast to the West Coast we are continuing our mission.  Thank you all!

We continue to grow – such an honor.  God bless all who continue to support us.

Gail

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Three years ago, a group of friends and family sat around the Shop and said, “we can do this – we will stand behind you.”  We wrote our Mission Statement and have never looked back.

When I tell you they stood by me, I mean in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health – you would think we were married.  But, seriously, I couldn’t do it without everyone helping and guiding to make us what we are today.

We were blessed all along our journey with new people who became part of the QOH family – each one bringing something special to the group.  Did I envision this?  No way did I think we would grow like we have or accomplish what we have.

Am I proud?  That’s an understatement.  I thank God everyday for bringing me all these ‘quilt angels’.  Then to be able to give our gifts to those who have defended our freedom – it doesn’t get much better than that.  We have awarded our quilted hugs of gratitude to the surviving Code Talkers; to the Blue Angels, to members of the 442nd Infantry Regiment of Japanese-Americans, and to many, many more heroes.

We have recently welcomed new groups to the QOH family – Kelly Ann’s QOH in VA, MD, & DC; School House Quilters QOH in WI; and Bexar County Quilters QOH in TX.

This year we are preparing for a historical event – displaying 100 plus Patriotic Quilts at the National Marine Museum in Washington, DC on October 4 thru 6.   This will be a first for us on this scale and a first for the Museum. We will be the first to display these beautiful patriotic quilts in the National Museum and then be able to award them to military and veterans from the surrounding area – what an honor.  I have always said we are small but mighty.

The designs and patterns for these quilts are awesome.  We have received two completed quilts and numerous tops for DC.  Make sure to tell your friends and relatives so they know you will be a part of history.

This coming weekend we will be at the Manteca Quilt Show hoping to tell more of our story.  So 2013 – look out – here comes Quilts of Honor.

God bless,
Gail

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Good Morning

It has started raining today as we are sitting here having our coffee.  I’ve been chasing all the orange birds with my camera.  There’s also these little blue bugs.

Today we will take the Tourist route to the airport, with Jeanie guiding, so Toni can see the White House before they leave.

Have a great morning everyone – will post more later.

Gail

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