For veterans, it is important to feel their service was appreciated.
That is at the heart of a new non-profit organization known as Quilts of Valor Foundation, which has opened up an Arkansas operation.
Sheila Gordon has been appointed the Arkansas State Coordinator for the organization, whose mission is to find volunteers willing to make quilts for veterans.
"The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor," Gordon said. "Please remember our organization is run entirely by volunteers who donate their time, skills and resources, all the way from people who sew up the blocks, the longarmers that handle the quilting, to the entire QOVF staff that runs day to day operations."
Gordon said she has found some volunteer help in the Jacksonville area for the Arkansas organization, but she is looking for more helpers.
The organization is also planning to make a presentation at the Little Rock Air Force Base.
"We have a formal presentation scheduled at the [Air Force base] in Jacksonville in June, our group from Clinton will most likely handle it," Gordon said.
Typically, the volunteer quilters make a quilt individualized so it has a lot of personal memories for the veteran who receives it. For example, a veteran of the Vietnam War would receive a quilt showing how their service was appreciated and designed in such a way that it was made based on their experiences in Vietnam.
"I will be working to promote our national and state programs to help develop new groups around Arkansas. These groups will be instrumental in helping to get quilts made and awarded to our local veterans," according to Gordon.
Donations for fabric and supplies are accepted and greatly appreciated, she added.
"We also need long-armers that will volunteer their services to quilt as few or as many possible," Gordon said.
Please make all donations out to Quilts of Valor Foundation. The Quilts of Valor Foundation is a non-profit established and operated in accordance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Gordon can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 501-354-5758.
Blue Star mother Catherine Roberts began the Quilts of Valor Foundation from her sewing room in Seaford, Del. Her son Nathanael’s year-long deployment to Iraq provided the initial inspiration, and her desire to see that returning warriors were welcomed home with the love and gratitude they deserved, provided the rest.
She hit upon the idea that linking quilt-toppers with machine quilters in a national effort could achieve her goal of coverall all returning service men and women touched by war.
These wartime quilts, called Quilts of Valor (QOV’s), would be a tangible reminder of an American’s appreciation and gratitude.
Since 2003, QOVF has become a national grassroots community service effort, connecting the home-front with our wounded combat warriors and veterans.
QOV’s are stitched with love, prayers and healing thoughts. Combat troops who have been wounded or touched by war are awarded this tangible token of appreciation that unequivocally says, "Thank you for your service, sacrifice and valor."
A Quilt of Valor is a generous lap-sized quilt (minimum of 55 X 65) made by a quilt-topper (the piecer) of quality fabrics and beautifully quilted by a longarmer. After it has been bound, washed, labeled and wrapped in a presentation case, it is ready to be awarded.
Quilts are awarded at many different levels: they may go to military hospitals where chaplains award them to service members; there may be presentations of QOV’s to entire service units returning from combat deployments; they may be awarded at VA’s or presented individually. But no matter how a Quilt of Valor is given, the impact it delivers is unequivocal, according to Gordon.
As of January, there have been over 95,000 quilts awarded to service members/veterans.