Quilts Of Valor

 

Incredible Quilts Of Valor

Quilters are generous by nature. Quilts are made as special gifts for family and friends, and often times, as donations to programs that touch us in a special way. Many quilt makers make quilts as individuals and in groups to be donated to charities that take care of preemie babies, sick, children, homeless persons, and in general, other persons in distress. One of the most amazing programs, destined to spread the warmth and love to very special persons is Quilts of Valor.

Following the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln said “Let us . . . care for him who shall have borne the battle.” More recently Defense Secretary Robert Gates, speaking at Duke University, said, “We must spare no expense to compensate or care for those who have served and suffered on the battlefield. That is our sacred obligation.”

Quilts of Valor is an organization that distributes quilts among war veterans. The Foundation’s mission is to cover all imagescombat service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor. This organization is not a charity, rather a way to link quilt makers with a war veteran who receives a quilt as a thank you for their service to the country. Any veteran from any branch of the military service is eligible to receive a quilt. This program is not only for the American military service members, but also has chapters in Canada, Britain and Australia, as these countries also have shared in the burden of the wars in the Middle East. It allows anyone to participate in a national service by making a quilt for a member of the military forces touched by war.

Quilts of Valor (QQV) was started by Catherine Roberts of Seaford, Delaware in Nov. 2003. As a mother of an Armed Forces’ member, she wanted to make sure all returning troops were made felt valued and loved by receiving a quilt. Most of us might have memories of wars in our recent history and how the men and women who served their country, came back to rejection, pain and suffering, as it happened during the decade of the seventies to Vietnam War veterans and earlier with the Korean War.
Statistics from the war in Iraq and Afghanistan are bone chilling. Up to date, 4,489 have given their lives in Iraq and 2,285 in Afghanistan. The number of suicides related to the war is estimated at slightly above 30.000. Countless have been wounded. Quilts of Valor are stitched “with love, prayers and healing thoughts” for all deserving men and women in the Armed Forces that have been involved in combat. To date, 90,950 quilts have been made and received by a war veteran. Just this month, six hundred and fourty three quilts have been awarded.

It is described as a grass roots service effort, which connects the home front with our wounded combat warriors and veterans. It allows quilt makers to make a top to donate. Long-arm quilt volunteers quilt the top. The quilt is washed, 6a01156fbc60f3970c0147e04be7ac970bwrapped in a case and awarded to a veteran in a ceremony that shows the gratitude we quilters feel for their effort, sacrifice and valor.

As quilters, we can participate quite simply. Even novice quilters (“rookies”)can be paired up with a “coach” if they wish to participate making a quilt top. But it isn’t the only way to participate and be part of such a valuable organization. Volunteers are needed to offer financial support, clerical help, providing food for workshops, or even transporting quilt tops to the long arm quilter volunteers. Quilt shops, fabric manufacturers, television quilt show programs also play an important part in this effort. Quilt shops can sign up for free to become “Official Under Our Wings Quilt Shops” and hold workshops to allow their customers to make tops to donate to QQV. Northcott, one of the leading quilting fabric manufacturers is an official sponsor of QQV and has designed fabric collections suitable for these quilts. They support the effort further through the sales of the collection “Star and Stripes” designed by Linda Ludovico.

Making a quilt top to donate to QQV is easy. A basic requirement list is available at the Quilts of Valor website uncle_sam_honor_roll(http://www.qovf.org/content/basic-qov-requirements.html) Basically, these quilt tops need to be made from good quality fabric in sizes suitable for a lap robe. The size of the quilt top should be sixty by eighty inches, ideally, and no smaller than fifty five by sixty five inches or larger than seventy two by ninety inches. There are requirements regarding backing, batting, label, the journal, and the presentation case. Once the top is pieced, the top-maker is paired with a long arm quilter. Coordinators do all the work, assigning pairs and facilitating communication between quilt top maker and quilter, if need be.

For all information related to Quilts of Valor, to watch videos and read testimonials, please visit them at http://www.qovf.org/index.html/

 

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