The clear, beautiful Kentucky morning seemed to be an active participant in the ceremony to honor local veterans. Patriotic music filled the large gathering room while families quietly shared memories and reflected on military service. The veterans were all onsite in order for each of them to be awarded a quilt made by the Elkhorn Creek Quilts of Valor. The full-size quilts, each with a different pattern were all handcrafted by the members of the quilting group.
The Elkhorn group is part of a nationwide organization, Quilts of Valor, who have awarded over 233,000 quilts nationwide. Birdsong Quilting in Georgetown sponsors the group locally. The group awards the intricate quilts to veterans who are nominated on the national website. The awardees’ information is then communicated to Earlene Arnett, the Elkhorn chapter leader. Arnett is humbled by the sacrifices made by the veterans and is honored to help present the quilts to the veterans.
“Many hearts and hands go into creating each quilt,” said Arnett. The quilts are intended to represent gratitude and appreciation for the sacrifice each veteran makes and to bring a sense of peace and healing to the recipients.
Raymond Oldsen, who served in the U.S. Army, was proud to be one of the recipients of a quilt.
“I appreciate the quilt, it’s beautiful and I know it was a lot of work,” said Oldsen.
The members of the quilting club do much of their work onsite at the extension office, taking advantage of the big rooms to create the elaborate patterns. The focus required to complete a large quilt is not lost on program presenter and Scott County family and consumer science extension agent, Whitney Hilterbran.
“I sewed a safety pin into my first quilt so I know how difficult it can be,” she said, sharing her own quilting experience.
Jeanne Hansen, wife of quilt recipient Merle Hansen, was impressed with the quality of the quilts and the potential comfort they might bring to some of the veterans.
“You just never know if the veterans are suffering or not, some of them have had to bear terrible circumstances and may still carry unspoken pain,” said Hansen.
State Rep. Phillip Pratt was on hand to honor the veterans and to honor his own brother who served for 27 years.
“This is a great way to thank all these veterans and their families, who must also share the burden of service,” said Pratt.
The 19 veterans and their family members were treated to a spread of homemade treats and coffee prepared by the members of the quilting group.
“My husband is grateful for the quilt and the whole ceremony. They really made it a special day for all of us,” said Hansen.
Approximately 100 people gathered at the Scott County Extension office to award the quilts, an appropriate celebration for Veterans Day.
Jackie Anders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.