By REBECCA HAZEN
The mission of Quilts of Valor is to wrap the men and women who have been touched by war with healing and comfort. Quilts = Healing.
Fran Randolph, group leader of the QOV Belles, a Quilts of Valor Foundation group that covers northwest Georgia, southeast Tennessee, and northeast Alabama, was at the American Legion Post 106 meeting in Trenton on Tuesday, Jan. 11, to present a Quilt of Valor to a veteran.
Edward Newman, member of American Legion Post 39 in Valley Head, Ala., was awarded a quilt. Newman, an Army veteran, is also Commander of the Honor Guard in Ider, Ala.
“He has put his time in, in Vietnam. We know many of you are Vietnam veterans. You got the raw deal. You were not appreciated; you were not thanked when you got home. I am sorry for that. I cannot do anything about that except to say that we do remember you and we do appreciate you,” Randolph said during the quilt presentation.
Quilts of Valor was founded in 2003 by Catherine Roberts. Roberts has a son who was deployed in Iraq at the time. One night Roberts had a vivid dream, where she saw a young soldier sitting hunched over. She could tell that the soldier was feeling despair. Then, the dream changed, and the soldier was wrapped in a quilt, and his demeanor had changed as well.
Roberts started a grassroots group and got her friends together to make quilts and award them. They started at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Since then, Quilts of Valor volunteers located in groups across the country have given almost 300,000 quilts to service members and veterans.
“We have over 10,000 members and 600 groups,” Randolph said. “It is 100 percent volunteer. We either use donations or those in the groups pay for everything.”
Randolph is the mother of an Air Force veteran. Her husband, Tom, is a Vietnam veteran.
“I have been a quilter for quite a while. When my youngest son went off to join the Air Force, I needed something to fill the time. I’ve made all the quilts I’ve wanted for me, for my family, so I wanted a purpose for that. I had to have someone to give it to,” Randolph said.
A Quilt of Valor can be any pattern and fabric. Most of the quilts are different. There are general guidelines for size, and for quality workmanship. One quilt takes about 30 to 60 hours to finish, with five or six people working on the different stages.
In 2021 the QOV Belles awarded 234 quilts. Randolph estimates that about 80 percent of the American Legion Post 106 members in Trenton have already been awarded a quilt.
“I have a wonderful group of people that I work with,” Randolph said.
Randolph continued, “The time, the effort, money that I put in, it is worth it to see their faces, and the appreciation from the spouses and family members. It has made that much difference in their lives.”
Veterans can be nominated for quilts online at the Quilts of Valor Foundation website. For more information, visit qovf.org.