Quilts of Valor — Dedicated To Covering Service Members & Veterans

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Quilts of Valor “at the ready” to wrap service members in comfort and warmth during the long, chilly medevac flight from the Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility (CASF) Ramstein, Germany to receive further care at Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD.

Quilts of Valor “at the ready” to wrap service members in comfort and warmth during the long, chilly medevac flight from the Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility (CASF) Ramstein, Germany to receive further care at Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD.

Catherine Roberts founded Quilts of Valor® Foundation in November 2003.  Born and raised in California, she did a stint in the Peace Corps, then settled in the NE corridor with her husband Chris.  She was a busy mom, raising four kids and working as a nurse.

She says, “It was after 9/11 that things changed radically for me.  In late 2003, I started QOVF as a result of my older son, Nat’s, upcoming deployment to Iraq as a gunner for his Humvee.”

Knowing that she was “10 seconds from panic” while her son was deployed, Catherine had a vision of a post-deployed warrior struggling with his war demons at 2:00 in the morning.  She saw him sitting on the side of his bed wrapped in a quilt.  That quilt not only comforted but warded off his war demons.  Thus QOVF was founded.  The mission was simple:  To cover all those wounded warriors with both physical and psychological wounds with a Quilt of Valor.  Originally, the focus was on warriors from Iraq/Afghanistan and many of the quilts were sent overseas, but the mission has expanded to ALL service members and veterans.

The quilting partnership between piecers and quilters happened mostly thanks to Janet-Lee Santeusanio of MQX (Machine Quilters).  The volunteer partnering of long armers with piecers of quilt tops was where the magic really took hold.  Good pieced tops become beautifully quilted quilts thanks to the machine quilters.

Quilts of Valor now honor and comfort service members and veterans from all services and all wars. On Veterans Day after the wreath laying ceremony at the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC, two veterans from past wars were honored with Quilts of Valor. Charlie S., a Navy WWII veteran, was awarded “Anchors Aweigh,” and John L., a Marine during the Korean War, was awarded “Stars and Stripes.” The Scottish American Military Society (SAMS), Post #2, Post of the Potomac partnered with QOVF to award the quilts in a traditional military award ceremony.

Quilts of Valor now honor and comfort service members and veterans from all services and all wars. On Veterans Day after the wreath laying ceremony at the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC, two veterans from past wars were honored with Quilts of Valor. Charlie S., a Navy WWII veteran, was awarded “Anchors Aweigh,” and John L., a Marine during the Korean War, was awarded “Stars and Stripes.” The Scottish American Military Society (SAMS), Post #2, Post of the Potomac partnered with QOVF to award the quilts in a traditional military award ceremony.

This whole process started with one QOV going to Walter Reed Army Medical Center with the assistance from Chaplain John Kallerson (Lt Col) and his wife Connie, a quilter. In May 2014, QOVF  went back to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for a symbolic ceremony at the new USO facility to acknowledge 100,000 Quilts of Valor.  At that ceremony, nine QOVs were awarded to military service members and veterans.

Quilts of Valor (www.QOVF.org) is an amazing grassroots, non-profit organization, totally run by volunteers.  They have approximately 10,000 volunteers nationwide.  Marianne Elliott is the volunteer who writes the newsletter for the organization.  “I retired from the Navy after 21 years.  My involvement with the Quilts of Valor started almost two years ago.  The last time I quilted — people were still using scissors to cut fabric.  So if I can be of service, ANYBODY CAN!  The QOVF website has lots of information about quilt patterns, criteria, local groups, award presentations, etc.

There is no one right way to create a Quilt of Valor. February 1, 2014 was the first National Sew Day — and 1,361 registered participants in six time zones made 586 tops.  Every year, the American Legion in Corning, New York lets the Southern Tier QOV sewing group come in for a 12 hour quilting marathon the Saturday before Veteran’s Day.  Local merchants donate food and prizes — and by the time it’s over — this small group of dedicated quilters will create 70 or 80 quilt tops.  Some groups meet on a monthly basis, and hundreds of quilts are made by dedicated individuals sewing in their own sewing rooms all over America.  The one thing that is a constant is that every stitch in every quilt is a labor of love  . . . ’ “

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http://www.qovf.org

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