KNOX COUNTY, Ohio (WCMH) — Quilts of Valor was founded in 2003 with the mission to cover all those service members and veterans who were “touched by war” with comforting and healing “Quilts of Valor.”
A group of women from the organization made a surprise presentation of more than 30 Quilts of Valor Monday.
“The average for a quilt is about a month, if you’re working on it consistently,” said Elyce Duerr with the Knox County Quilting Guild.
About 60 members of the Knox County Quilting Guild meet once a month for a sit and sew. But they also spend countless hours quilting on their own.
“This block right here is two rectangles that you sew together down the middle diagonally and then you cut them apart to form this block,” Duerr demonstrated. “And she’s got a zillion triangles in here so this takes a little bit longer to do.”
This group of ladies has worked more than a year on these quilts.
“Every year, we have a community project and I asked if it could be quilts of valor for this year,” said Kathy Schmoltz of Knox County Quilting Guild. “And they said, ‘Sure!’ And they’ve responded well, I’m very proud of the ladies.”
They all should be proud.
“If we get 10 quilts, we’ll really be happy and we’ll be successful,” Schmoltz said.
They did much better than 10. On Monday, they presented 35.
One after another, men and women, veterans from the Korean War, Vietnam and the Gulf Wars accepted their very own quilt of valor.
“I think it’s very humbling, you know,” said Don Ryan, an Air Force veteran who served from 1961-65. “They went to this much work for me. They don’t know me from Adam. They went to this much to give this to me, it’s something you’ll cherish for a long time.”
Another veteran echoed those sentiments.
“It’s pretty special,” said Rick Gilson, an Army veteran who served from 1969-72. “I know Stacy, the one who made it. She’s very nice.”
And the smiles on the faces and the hugs from loved ones and new friends show that this was a huge success.
Many of the veterans were surprised with the presentation of the quilts. NBC 4’s own photojournalist, Jon Edwards, a former U.S. Navy photographer and Gulf War veteran, was surprised with a quilt of his own, presented by quilter Kourtney Kenzie of Apple Valley.
Jon thanks everyone with the Knox County Quilting Guild and said he’s honored they thought of him.
The guild contacted NBC 4 to make sure Jon and his family would be at Monday’s presentation.