~Land of the Free...
Because of the Brave~
Because of the Brave~
I decided that I would celebrate America's Birthday by quilting these 5 Quilts of Valor. I have been working on them for the past 10 days. Things are busy out on the farm this time of year, so often I would have only 15 or 20 minutes at a time to work on them.
Of the next photos, the first two quilts were pieced by Linda L. in Colorado. I sent them back to her yesterday for her to bind, lable and ship to their destination. When I find out where she is to ship them, I will post it here. The last 3 were pieced by 92 year old WWII Veteran Al Lind . I have previously posted about Al and his quilt tops. I have now quilted 16 of Al's quilts.
I have copied excerpts from quotable letters from the Quilts of Valor website to accompany each of the next individual photos.
“I was chasing three terrorists down a riverbank...”
"Dear Donna and Judy,
My name is Bob. I am a soldier with twelve years in the Army.
Christmas Eve I was chasing three terrorists down a riverbank when one of them detonated a suicide vest. The blast tore the muscles in my calf away from the bone. I have had 7 surgeries now to fix my leg and wash the wounds. The doctors think I should keep my leg. I just got out of the hospital a couple of days ago, and will be home on IV antibiotic for the next two months. I hope to be back in the game in about 9 months or so depending on how physical therapy goes. Right now my leg has no feeling below the knee. No one else on my team got hurt; we got lucky. The bomb was made out of ten pounds of C4 and another 10 pounds of ball bearings. I was only 5 foot away when it went off, so I really can't complain about a thing.
When I arrived at the field hospital in Balad, Iraq, I was given a quilt that you and Judy had made. As silly as it might sound for a soldier with over three years in Iraq and Afghanistan to say, that blanket became a true item of comfort and peace for the road ahead. It kept me warm on the multiple C17 flights home and added color and warmth to cold hospital rooms. I curled up in it after each surgery, and now it is wrapped around me as I write this message. I spent many long nights wondering if I would keep my leg and if the infection in my body would win, but I have never once doubted if it was worth it. People like yourself are the reason I leave my wife and home to fight these monsters who want to destroy our way of life. I want you to know that your efforts are noticed and really do make a difference. Your blanket was a piece of home and source of strength when I was down. Thank you so much. I will return to the war as soon as my wounds allow, and I hope that you know that your work is important and appreciated. Take care and I pray that God blesses you and your families.
"I know that the quilt helped calm her down.”
"I just wanted to take another minute to thank you for everything that you and your organization is doing for us. The quilts that I have been receiving are just fantastic! I really wish you could see the patient's faces when they receive their quilts. I wanted to especially thank you after the gruelling night we had tonight. There was an attack on one of the bases yesterday, and tonight we received patients from that explosion. You see...all of the patients that are leaving Iraq come to our hospital, because we are the main hub to get them home. We received several patients from this attack, and all of them were still a little shaken up...understandable so. Anyway, it was very nice to be able to give them a piece of home, as they were on their way home. There was one girl, in particular, that I took care of that kept asking me over and over if she was going to die. She was actually doing very well, but she was still terrified. She was so freaked out, that she was afraid to go to sleep, thinking that she wouldn't wake up. After talking to her, and presenting her with a quilt, she was able to settle herself down. I know that the quilt helped calm her down. It is amazing what reminders of home can do for our patients. She did ask me one last time if she was going to die, before I got her up to the floor. I told her that she wasn't allowed to do die...not on my watch, especially because she had to take her quilt home and show it to her family. That finally got a smile out of her. Absolutely incredible!! Anyway, I just wanted to share that quick story. (I have to get back to work.) Your quilts are always fantastic, but tonight it meant even more to be able to calm all of those fears. THANK YOU AGAIN!!"
The destination for the next 3 quilts is Afganistan. They will be shipped to U S Navy doctor CAPT Patricia Hagan, USN at a multinational hospital in Afghanistan. She is giving quilts to those American men and women that have been injured. Some, after care, are being returned to their units to finish their deployment.
“I find myself attached to this quilt.”
"I never said thank you for the quilt. I got it in Germany and find myself attached to it like a 1 yr old woobie. I am a Scout Sniper in the Marine Corps so I am not a touchy feely guy, but the blanket is a wonderful gift. Thank you for your compassion."
"I just wanted to say thank you. I received a "quilt of valor" when I arrived from ICU in Iraq to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. The reason it meant so much to me is because when I arrived here I came with nothing at all. I was in fear for my health and what would become of me. To me the quilt symbolizes all of the support and prayers that we soldiers are getting from back home, personally for myself as well as all the troops who cant make it to the computer to email you, I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Just by looking at this quilt I can tell that there were many hours spent on the craftsmanship as well as all of the money spent on the high quality materials needed to make such an awesome gift. Honestly I plan on keeping this quilt and passing it on to my children some day, just to symbolize that people out there support their troops, and this country, and its freedom although sometimes taken for granted, isnt free, I am proud to be An American, and although I might not ever make it back down range, I at least know I did my part. Thank you your quilt means so much more then I can ever say to me and the rest of the soldiers here, again thank you. Because of the circumstances that took place I am going to be shipped form Germany ICU to an ICU stateside where they can evaluate my current medical condition and see if I am still fit for duty. From what I gather I am not, so I think that my military career will end very soon. It scares me because right now my fellow soldiers "my family..brothers sisters so to say" are still over there and I want to go back and be with them too. We have all became so close through the time we spent over there it's like we are all that each other has. We live, eat, sleep, shower, and spend almost every minute of everyday together ...and now for me thats over! It's hard to come to that realization but somehow I fell I am to blame, and that I did not complete my mission. When I think about it it saddens me. but your kind words mean alot to me right now..they bring tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart. Your support is priceless. your intentions are derived from pure unconditional love each strand of the quilt means something.
“As a POC, I am regularly receiving quilts from all over the country.”
"From CDR Jones - Doctor at the Joint Hospital in Afghanistan
I am regularly receiving quilts from all over the country. Please express our thanks to your team of dedicated folks. This has been wonderful. CDR Russell has been involved in the delivery of the quilts to our wounded soldiers. I spoke with her last week and she said that it is going very well and that the troops are very affected by the receipt of such a thoughtful gift. I’ll let CDR Russell chime in with any other thoughts she might have. I think we are getting just the right amount of quilts. So from our end, things seem to be working very well. I think it would be great if we can continue this effort past our time and turn it over to the folks who will follow us in March.
“I have seen your quilts and know they are a treasured gift.”
"I couldn’t agree more with CDR Jones. It has truly been my great pleasure to present your beautiful quilts to our soldiers and Marines wounded in combat. I have seen your quilts at Landstuhl and Bethesda, and know that they are a treasured gift. By sending your quilts here, you are getting them to some men who would not have received them otherwise because they are returned to duty. I have given them to our guys with wounds ranging from concussion and blast injuries to amputations. Your quilts have been covering soldiers while they were presented their Purple Hearts here in Afghanistan. Please pass along my most sincere gratitude to everyone in your organization for the opportunity to share some love from home at a time when the wounded can use it most!
Warmest Regards, CDR Mary Russell"
~God Bless America~