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Quilts comfort nation’s heros

Posted on Friday, March 1, 2013 at 10:19 am

One of the many quilts donated by the Uptown Quilt Guild.

As they proudly showed off their latest handmade quilts last week, the women of the Uptown Quilt Guild were delighted to see a member of a charity take home their woven designs to distribute to military men and women in need of comfort.

On Feb. 20, 64 quilters gathered in the Fellowship Hall at Cobham Park Baptist Church in Warsaw to present nine “Quilts of Valor” to Kathy Talbot, the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Fisher House at Andrews Air Force Base (AFB) in Maryland.

Talbot was grateful for the “beautiful, beautiful quilts” that the guild donated to Fisher House.

“I quilted when I was in graduate school and I knew how difficult, time-consuming and how much patience it actually takes,” said Talbot.

The Fisher House in Andrews AFB is part of a network of comfort homes built within major military and Virginia medical centers.

“The best way to describe it is [as] a Ronald McDonald house for military personnel and their families, and that includes retirees,” Talbot described, adding: “If you have a loved one, whether it be the active duty person, the spouse or a child, you are eligible for free lodging.”

Talbot said that Fisher House provides soldiers and military personnel with clothing, toiletries, food and “anything else they need.”

“Little things like pillows…you ever broke your arm, then putting that arm up on a pillow can be very helpful, so we provide that for them,” said Talbot.

Talbot emphasized that quilts and blankets as provided to the residents were “invaluable.”

“The people who are sick…are just so grateful that somebody cares about them,” she said.

The effect of a donated quilt on one resident who was recovering from cancer was especially touching for Talbot.

“The tears in her eye…she had something that she could just cuddle up with,” said Talbot.

She also related to the guild that two babies were currently at the Fisher House. One baby was sick while the other was there with the mother who was ill.

Talbot said the little things like the “swaddling blankets” that were donated were valued as the babies “like to be all covered up.”

In turn, Guild President Sue Dollins was thankful for the services of the Fisher House. Her husband Buddy, a retired sergeant, had stayed at the house while he took the shuttle to Walter Reed Hospital to treat his cancer.

“It really helps when you have a nice, safe place to stay for that long,” said Dollins.

“Quilts of Valor” was the last of four charity projects to which the guild devoted their time and resources for their 2012-13 year.

The guild also created Christmas stockings for children in the Richmond County, donated quilts to the Northern Neck Food Bank and stitched together adult bibs to give to shut-ins in the region for Project Inasmuch.

Tammy Weston, a leader and organizer of the guild’s Charity Committee along with Cindy Packett, said the guild has made 32 quilts for military personnel.

The committee mailed 18 of the quilts to the Wounded Warrior project in Indiana as part of the “Quilts of Valor” program, fulfilling a third of the project’s need for 56 quilts.

The quilters will also give five of their designs to individuals in the surrounding counties, as well as one to a couple in North Carolina.