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Foundation makes quilts for wounded soldiers

Staff writer

During the Civil War, women who wanted to show their support of soldiers did it the best way they knew how — by quilting. After the war, the tradition died down, but in 2004 it was revived by the Quilts of Valor Foundation.

Quilts of Valor volunteers make quilts to help comfort wounded soldiers. Sew What Quilt Shop owners Jan Meisinger, Paula Perry, and Carol Riggs of Hillsboro are involved with the Kansas Bee of Quilts of Valor. Meisinger and Perry have been at it for several years, and Riggs recently became involved. Betty Stenzel of Marion is also involved in Quilts of Valor.

Perry said she learned of the project at the Wichita Quilt Show about five years ago.

Several wounded soldiers from Marion County have received quilts from Quilts of Valor. Molly Holub, Ryan Newell, and Peter Richert are among the soldiers to receive a Quilts of Valor quilt.

Perry said the most memorable moment in her involvement with the project was presenting 14 quilts at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Wichita.

“The soldiers are very appreciative. They think people don’t care,” she said. “Making them a quilt is the least we could do.”

A soldier’s wounds don’t have to be physical to qualify for a quilt, she said. Post traumatic stress disorder can be just as difficult for veterans to cope with.

Many, maybe even a majority, of the quilts made by the Kansas Bee go to Fort Riley, Perry said.

To learn more about Quilts of Valor, go online to www.qovkansas.org.

Sew What Quilt Shop

Meisinger, Perry, and Riggs opened Sew What Quilt Shop, LLP, May 5 in Marion. Perry said she always wanted to open a shop in Marion.

The fabric and supply shop’s slogan is “Sew What? We’re small, but watch us grow,” Riggs said. She said her goal is for the shop to become the best quilt retail store in the area.

To help reach that goal, the business is planning projects. The shop will offer classes in the summer, including a free children’s sewing class, in which students will sew pillow cases, Riggs said.

Sew What’s sponsorship of Quilts of Valor is one accomplishment completed.

“It’s something that we’re very proud of that we can sponsor,” Riggs said.

Starting the business hasn’t gone exactly as Riggs expected.

“I think my biggest surprise was that it takes so long from making an order to receiving it from the manufacturer,” she said. “I’m going to have to learn a lot of patience.”

Sew What shares a building with Down on the Corner and Hair Corner at 162 W. Main St., Marion. Sew What’s hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. For more information, call (620) 382-2020.

Plans are underway for a grand opening ceremony sometime during the summer.

Last modified May 27, 2010

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