September 13, 2008 in Voices

Quilters support soldiers

Blankets being sent to hospital at Fort Lewis
By The Spokesman-Review
 
J. BART RAYNIAK photo

Gae Stroud, left, and Delma Wagstaff assemble quilts at the LDS Church on Boone and Molter in Liberty Lake Thursday.
(Full-size photo)

Sewing needles were stitching up a storm on Thursday as women from three Valley churches spent the day sewing quilts for wounded soldiers at Madigan Army Medical Hospital.

The Liberty Lake, Greenacres and Saltese wards of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been working on the quilting project for a while, but decided that Sept. 11 was a good day for a focused effort honoring the military.

The effort was part of a project to distribute quilts called American Hero Quilts, started by a Washington woman. The quilts will be sent to the hospital in Fort Lewis, which usually houses soldiers from the Northwest.

“I love to quilt, and I think it’s a great idea to give the quilts to the soldiers in terms of letting them know we support the sacrifice they’re making,” said quilter Jill Langford.

The women planned to spend the day sewing quilt tops, which will be finished by two volunteers who have the proper sewing machines. Organizers went into the event with four finished quilts and 11 more in various stages of completion. The goal is to send 30 finished quilts to the hospital. “We’ll take whatever we can get, but we set 30 as the goal to strive for,” said Langford.

An experienced quilter can finish a quilt top in under two days, said event organizer Delma Wagstaff. The effort goes faster when many hands are available to help. The women are making twin-sized quilts. “When they’re in Iraq, it’s so hot,” said Wagstaff of the soldiers. “They come here and it’s so cold. I can see how they’d want to have it wrapped around their shoulders.”

The quilts are of different designs, but all use the colors red, white and blue. “We have some beautiful quilts,” she said.

The soldiers are never far from Wagstaff’s mind when she sews. Whenever donated quilts arrive at the hospital, the soldiers are allowed to pick which one they want. “It’s a good feeling to me,” she said. “I like to wonder who’s going to receive this quilt when I work on it. Wouldn’t it be fun to see them pick.”

Sewing is how Wagstaff chooses to show her appreciation. “They sacrifice so much for us, all of them have. It’s such a small effort to let them know how much we appreciate them.”

Nina Culver can be reached at 927-2158 or via e-mail at ninac@spokesman.com.


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