Quilts of Valor

- 8/3/2023

Quilts of Valor award ceremony held at the VFW Calabash Post 7288
By Frederick Walton
The Quilts of Valor Foundation (qovf.org) held an award presentation ceremony at the VFW Calabash Post 7288 on Saturday, July 22, 2023. Group Coordinator Kirsta Meadows, proprietor of All About Quilting in Jacksonville and N. C. co-coordinator Master Gunnery Sergeant Marty Kaminski USMC (retired) represented the foundation and presented the awards. Their travels take them from Virginia to South Carolina and all points in between including Calabash, where they came to honor local Veterans and service members.

Congratulations to VFW Calabash post 7288 members Eric Johnson (Navy), Joe Lenz (Navy), Rich Michaels (Marines) and Post Commander Mike Dichiara (Navy), as well as other area Vets who were recognized for their service and given "comforting and healing Quilts of Valor”, while their families and friends looked on.

The foundation began with a dream. In 2003 founder Catherine Roberts, whose son was serving in Iraq,  dreamed about a young man sitting on a bed with a feeling of utter despair. His war demons were dragging him down into an emotional gutter. Suddenly her dream showed her the same young man wrapped in a colorful quilt. His demeanor changed to one of hope and well being. She had been given a mission. Quilts equal healing. Quilts of Valor was born out of that dream.

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. 

The first quilt was awarded in November 2003 to a young soldier who had lost his leg in Iraq. By 2014 over 100,000 quilts had been awarded to active service members and veterans. In 2019 the number climbed beyond a quarter million. In 2023, the twentieth anniversary year, volunteers are striving to reach a total of a half million comforting and healing quilts given to deserving recipients.

While the men and woman who served proudly in our armed forces deserve our gratitude, these quilts are more than just a symbol of thanks. They are a comfort and refuge to help heal the traumatic wounds of war they often carry unseen and sometimes unknown.

The quilts are provided by volunteers from across the nation, although for this ceremony group coordinator Krista Meadows specifically selected quilts made in North Carolina. Each quilt is lovingly hand made, often with a patriotic or a service organization theme. If you are a quilter and are looking for a worthwhile project, consider joining and providing your talents by going to their website (qovf.org) for more details. Whether you provide a single square or entire quilt, your efforts will make a difference.

Kirsta shared her own story with the family and friends gathered for Saturdays ceremony. She got started in 2004 when her son was wounded in Iraq with a traumatic brain injury. While recovering, her son was in a hospital that was dark and quiet to help the patients.  He said he enjoyed walking down the hall and seeing the quilts on the beds of the service members and knowing people remembered them and were praying for them. Kirsta knew she had to pay this kindness forward and has been involved ever since.

N. C. co-cordinator, Marty Kaminski, served in the marines for 26 years and has seen first hand the positive effect these quilts have made to wounded warriors and veterans. Upon his retirement he found this a way to continue to serve and is a strong advocate for this important program.

A Quilt of Valor is a Civilian Award recognizing an individual’s service and sacrifice to defend our county’s freedoms. It is not a gift. As an Award, it deserves a proper ceremony from grateful mothers, daughters, fathers, aunts, peers , etc. who may nominate them for the award of a Quilt of Valor. If you wish to nominate a deserving recipient, visit the nomination page of the their website to learn more about the process.

If you don’t already quilt, but recognize the importance of this project and want to help them achieve their goals, there are many ways to donate, either through local groups or directly to the foundation. See the donation link on their web page. Your donations may be used to purchase batting, labels, thread and fabric or to help mail quilts to service members. 

Want to learn how to quilt?  Drop by All about Quilts in Jacksonville or visit the website http://www. allaboutquilting.net/ to find helpful guidance to learn quilting and support this great program.

The VFW Calabash Post #7288 Thanks active duty service members and Veterans for their service. They welcome all eligible Veterans of Foreign Wars to join them. They have an active social calendar and serve the community through many volunteer programs. Stop by the post for more information.

Photos courtesy of Frederick Walton Photography

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