Quilts of Valor wrap veterans in tangible gratitude

Staff writer

Members from the Quilts of Valor Foundation presented 22 combat service members and veterans each with their own heirloom quilt Nov. 11 at 3 p.m. during Veterans Day.

“You deserve more than just a simple thank you,” foundation regional director Martha Smith said to veterans. “So we are honoring you with a comforting and healing quilt.”

Smith said it could be hard for a civilian to thank a veteran for their service without having experienced war firsthand.

“When my father got back from war, he hung up his gun,” Smith said. “He was done with guns. He didn’t teach my brothers how to hunt and he didn’t speak about what he had seen.”

Many veterans find it difficult to speak about the certain events they took part in or witnessed, some of which may still cause them moral dilemmas, she said.

QOV volunteers hoped to help counteract the veterans’ complicated feelings associated with their service through all the time and care they put into their quilts.

“Each quilt will also tell you the story of the person who made it,” Smith said. “And each was made to thank you in a tangible way for your honor, sacrifice, and endurance, during and after your service.”

Veterans all seemed touched and pleased to receive gratitude and recognition for their service.

Retired Col. Dick Schwartz said he just came to see the ceremony but he didn’t know he would receive a quilt. While retired Seaman 1st Class Rosse Case said, he was sure his would keep him warm.

Retired Sgt. Garry Klose plans to display the quilt he received on his wall at home.

“It’s good to know that group of people got together to do this,” Caroline Kelly said. “Vietnam and Korea veterans didn’t get the same thanks that World War II vets received.”

For more information about the QOV Foundation visit http://www.qovkansas.org or call Paula Perry at (620) 947-3302 or Martha Smith at (316) 253-0286.

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