Various shades of red, white and blue fabric go through many stages. They are first cut, then pinned, then sewed numerous times until all the little pieces become one large quilt. The process of making a quilt can take many hours, but 4-H members in Thayer and Nuckolls counties are taking the time to make these quilts, then donating them to soldiers “touched by war.”
For the third year, local 4-H members are participating in the Quilts of Valor Foundation.
The first year that Nebraska 4-H participated there were a total of 40 quilts donated statewide. That number doubled last year when Nebraska 4-H members donated 82 quilts to the organization.
In Thayer County, three quilts have been made so far this year. Alanna Fangmeier, Kinzie Remmers, Leah Schmidt, TaraLee Hudson and Bailee Remmers have worked to put these together throughout the summer. The quilts will be entered in the county fair, then if they earn a purple ribbon they will travel to the state fair. After the state fair, they will be donated to the organization and where they go from there is decided on a need basis.
“Last year the quilts were sent to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and Afghanistan,” said Phyllis Schoenholz, Thayer County extension educator. “We’ve been getting thank you notes from the nurses in that hospital.”
Once they are used in the hospital, soldiers get to bring them back home. Most of them are used to cover soldiers on their flights back to the United States.
The quilts aren’t just sent by themselves. The quilters will make a matching pillowcase to transport the quilts. This pillowcase is usually used to carry paperwork and other items being brought home. There is also an option of adding a note to the soldiers.
“Some of these kids write the best letters to thank the soldiers,” Schoenholz said. “And these are included with the quilts.”
Making a quilt can be an expensive process with the fabric, thread and backing, but there are many donations that allow 4-H members to make these quilts without paying anything. The first year that Nebraska 4-H members participated, the Quilts of Valor Foundation helped to get free fabric for all the quilts. Whether it is fabric or monetary donations, there are many ways that 4-H members are able to make these quilts for soldiers.
At the state fair, there is a special presentation that displays the quilts made for the organization and allows the 4-H members who made them to be recognized.
For more information on the Quilts of Valor Foundation visit www.qovf.org.