Honoring our Service Members and Veterans with a Quilt of Valor
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 ceremony honors our veterans by awarding a quilt made specifically for them by a local quilter that donated their time and materials to the cause.
Quilts of Valor Foundation began in 2003 and was founded by Catherine Roberts. The foundation began while Catherines son was deployed in Iraq, it came to her in a dream.
"The dream was as vivid as real life. I saw a young man sitting on the side of his bed in the middle of the night, hunched over. The permeating feeling was one of utter despair. I could see his war demons clustered around, dragging him down into an emotional gutter. Then, as if viewing a movie, I saw him in the next scene wrapped in a quilt. His whole demeanor changed from one of despair to one of hope and well-being. The quilt had made this dramatic change. The message of my dream was: Quilts = Healing."
Catherine came up with a business model to have volunteers team up and donate their time and materials to make these quilts. She got together a group of quilting friends and began making quilts for service men and women. The group along with a local Chaplain began awarding quilts and so became the Quilts of Valor or QOV.
The quilts have standards when being made for our veterans. They have to be so big, made of good quality fabric, must be quilted not tied, and although they don't have to be patriotic colors they often are. Each quilt comes personalized with a label as shown below. Once these quilts are made with time and love they are awarded in a beautiful ceremony not just handed off to the receiver. They are awarded at many levels; they may go to military hospitals where Chaplains award them, given to entire units returning home from deployments or be awarded at a VA facility or individually at the receivers home.
I attended a ceremony this last weekend that honored 4 veterans. It was three brothers that served at the same time and one of the brothers son. The ceremony begins by the speaker telling the family about the QOV history and why they are there, then goes on to tell the family about their own ancestry military history which was very interesting. Some of the information provided the family didn't even know about. After the introduction and family history, the speaker introduces each veteran receiving the quilt. The receiver then stands up in front of the quilt made for them while the speaker states the vets rank, time and places they served. The quilt then gets folded in half neatly and gets draped over the receiver. In this case it was a family member and a member of the Troy Idaho Historical Society that draped the quilts over the receivers.
The foundation has grown to over 10,000 volunteers, across 600 groups in all 50 states. Over 250,000 quilts have been made and awarded in the US and overseas although most are awarded in communities in the US. The quilts have traveled from the US to war stricken areas, given in mobile hospital units, awarded on aircraft carriers and on foreign soil.
The Quilts of Valor Foundation has a website (https://www.qovf.org/) where you can volunteer to quilt, donate or find a location to request a quilt for yourself or a family member. The ceremony I attended was put on by the Troy Idaho Historical Society and they did a wonderful job!