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Quilts of Valor

Many of us remember the Viet Nam war and the turbulence and rage that erupted within our country during that time. Many people took out their rage in a despicable way: on some of the veterans who returned from that war.

For those of us who have never seen military combat, we cannot fathom the violence, the loss of life, the fear or the aftermath. But we can honor those women and men who served our country.

One woman started a magnificent gesture of kindness and care – giving quilts to combat service members and veterans.  Catherine Roberts, a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador in the early 1970s, became a nurse and then a mid-wife. In 2003, her son deployed for Iraq as a gunner. She founded Quilts of Valor. To date, 91,566 quilts have been presented to members of the military. 

 “Knowing that I was ‘10 seconds from panic’ while he was deployed, I had this vision of a post-deployed warrior struggling with his war demons at 2 in the morning.  I saw him sitting on the side of his bed wrapped in a quilt.  That quilt not only comforted but warded off his war demons.  Thus QOVF was founded.  The mission was simple:  To cover all those wounded warriors with both physical and psychological wounds with a Quilt of Valor.

And for those veterans who returned from Viet Nam? While they may not have received a quilt upon their return, it’s never too late to say “thank you.” 

(S-R archive photo: Sharon Ledbetter, director of the Quilts for Valor Foundation, is seen at the quilt show.)

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Writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., addresses issues facing aging baby boomers and seniors as well as issues of serious illness, death and dying, grief and loss.

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