Local veterans got a hand-stitched thank you last week after a quilters’ group handed out their wares.
The event, at the Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center , saw a Pearl Harbor survivor honored along with others, courtesy of the painstaking work of the Quilts for Valor Foundation, a national nonprofit that makes quilts to honor military veterans and the survivors of fallen troops.
“Most men and women who serve are so humble and don’t think they sacrificed enough for this country, so this is our way to honor them,” said Jan Weber, a member of the quilt foundation.
About 300 quilters in Colorado volunteer for the foundation, typically spending 40 to 60 hours of needlework on each quilt.
One of the recipients was Donald Stratton, a sailor who survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Stratton is one of five remaining survivors of the battleship USS Arizona, which was sunk by Japanese bombs.
“This is beautiful,” Stratton said as he was bundled in his quilt from the group.
A pair of quilts recognized the sacrifice of soldiers and their spouses in the wars since 9/11.
Army Lt. Col. Jeremy Sauer and his wife, Jenee, got the warm gifts. The colonel got his for service while Jenee got hers for living through nine moves and numerous deployments during her husband’s 16 years in uniform.
The foundation’s state coordinator, Audrey Thiesen, said that while quilting is hard work, volunteers see the value.
“We have a love of it, we have a passion for it,” Thiesen said of quilting for veterans.
Local quilter Liz Foster said every piece of each quilt carries special meaning for the creators.
“And each stitch is love, and some tears,” Foster said after each veteran received a quilt
These quilts aren’t made to be stuffed away amid mothballs.
“Don’t store your quilt, use your quilt,” Thiesen told Stratton.
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