The Quilts of Valor Foundation is a national organization founded in 2003 by “Blue Star” mom Catherine Roberts. With a son deployed in Iraq – a gunner sitting atop a Humvee – she felt ten seconds away from panic 24-hours a day, every day. It was during that time her son was deployed that she had the idea of comforting Veterans with quilts.
Since then, more than 140,000 quilts have been awarded here in the United States, and in Germany, Iraq and Afghanistan. With each quilt, the mission to honor Servicemembers and Veterans is fulfilled — one human being reaching out and touching another, without judgement, reaching out with acceptance and with an acknowledgment of service to our nation in very trying circumstances.
Quilts of Valor Foundation recognizes and acknowledges the “war demons” that plague soldiers from all wars. Thousands of quilters all over the US work daily to create quilts to cover warriors from all conflicts, including WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
A Quilt of Valor is made of three layers and each layer has own special meaning:
- The top with its many colors, shapes and fabrics represents the communities and the many individuals we are.
- The batting, the filler, is the center of the quilt, its warmth. It represents our hope that this quilt will bring warmth, comfort, peace and healing to the individual who receives it.
- The backing is the strength that supports the other layers. It represents the strength of the recipient, the support of his or her family, our communities, and our nation.
- Each stitch that holds the layers together represents love, gratitude, and sometimes the tears of the maker.
Each quilt also represents a three-part message from the givers to those receiving:
- First, we HONOR you for your service. We honor you for leaving all you hold dear and to stand in harm’s way in a time of crisis, protecting us from the effects of war.
- Next, we know that FREEDOM IS NOT FREE. The cost of freedom is the dedication of lives of men and women like you, and this quilt is meant to say thank you for your sacrifice.
- And finally, this quilt is meant to offer COMFORT to you, and to remind you that although your family and friends cannot be with you at all times, you are forever in our thoughts and our hearts.
This week, at the Central Arkansas Veterans Health Care System in Little Rock, U.S. Air Force Veteran Robert Campbell received the 500th quilt presented at the facility since 2008.
About the author: Martha “Marti” Rouby is a social worker at the Little Rock VA Medical Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. She has served as the local contact for Quilts of Valor since 2008.