For US service members returning from deployment, readjustment back into stateside life can be difficult. What better way to honor and comfort our veterans than to award them with a handmade quilt?
The Quilts of Valor® Foundation began in 2003, when founder Catherine Roberts’ son returned from Iraq and she noticed a marked difference in his well-being when he wrapped himself in a gifted quilt. Since its launch, the Foundation has become one of the country’s largest quilting non-profits, delivering more than 270,000 handmade quilts to service members and veterans and partnering with other groups such as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and 4H to teach quilt making for a good cause.
While QOVF is a non-profit, the Foundation is also very clear that it is not a charity. Quilts must meet certain requirements for quality, size, quilting, and labeling to qualify, and they are never donated but “awarded” to veterans in ceremonies, not unlike medals. During the ceremony, a fellow veteran presents the quilt to the recipient.
For QOVF executive director Tammany McDaniel, the hard work of the Foundation always pays off in the end. She shares several instances where veterans have reflected on what being awarded a quilt means to them: “A veteran and I were speaking a few weeks ago and he noted that ‘nights are hard and the quilt is always there.’ Another veteran, a medic, recently sent a thank you note saying that he carries Quilts of Valor® downrange; he is then able to cover the injured with the colors of our country at some of the most uncertain times of their lives.”
Want to get involved? Visit www.qofv.org for more information about membership or contributing a Quilt of Valor®, and mark your calendar for the first Saturday in February, when thousands of quilters (and non-quilters willing to learn) will gather across the country for the QOVF National Day of Sewing.
And check out some of our favorite Quilts of Valor® in this recent Quilts of Valor® roundup.
* This piece was originally published in the Easy Quilts’ Fall ’19 issue.