Voices

Spokane women make quilts for veterans

Veteran Jim West, right, holds up a quilt given to him as Karen Allen, with Quilts of Valor, left, reacts, while veteran Sonny Shaffer, center, looks on Monday. (Tyler Tjomsland)
Veteran Jim West, right, holds up a quilt given to him as Karen Allen, with Quilts of Valor, left, reacts, while veteran Sonny Shaffer, center, looks on Monday. (Tyler Tjomsland)

It was, perhaps, a bit hot for the gift of a blanket, but that didn’t dampen the spirit among the three veterans who received handmade quilts from the Quilts of Valor organization.

Clarence “Sonny” Shaffer, Jim West and Buck Buchanan each received a carefully stitched red, white and blue quilt at a small ceremony at Rockwood at Hawthorne, on Monday .Buchanan, whose wife Jodie Buchanan is a dedicated quilter, jokingly said it was about time he got his own quilt.

“She has made hundreds of quilts and given them away,” Buchanan said, cradling the new quilt in his arms. “This is wonderful. It’s an honor.”

Buchanan grew up in Hunters, Washington, and joined the Navy in 1966. He served in Vietnam and after his honorable discharge in 1970 he became a deputy U.S. marshal, a title he held for more than 30 years.

West, who joined the Navy in 1942, served in many ports during World War II including locations in the South Pacific and off the shores of Australia. He was a diesel mechanic on Navy submarines and part of Land Services, a group of Navy sailors who laid giant nets around American battleships to protect them from torpedoes.

He’s also Buchanan’s father-in-law and they were very happy to receive their quilts at the same time.

Shaffer joined the Army in 1942 and became a member of the 88th Infantry Division. He served in North Africa and Italy during World War II and received a Purple Heart for a serious injury he sustained during battle in Italy. Shaffer was honorably discharged from the Army in 1944 and spent the next almost 40 years working as an electrician at the Hanford Project.

Diane Watters, Eastern Washington coordinator for Quilts of Valor, was at the Monday event. She said the Spokane group has completed 65 quilts since December.

“We have an amazing group of dedicated quilters,” Watters said.

Residents and staff at Rockwood at Hawthorne have their own Quilts of Valor group which has produced two quilts.

“Their quilts are stitched with love, prayers and healing thoughts for our troops who have been wounded or touched by war,” wrote Lisa VanMansum, communications coordinator for Rockwood Retirement Communities in a press release. “These ladies give their beautiful talent to our service men and women.”



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