America is known throughout the world as the bastion of freedom and liberty, a land where the citizens’ rights are guaranteed, protected and fiercely defended.
None of this would be possible, however, without one very key element. Freedom is never free and the people who pay the highest price are often the brave men and women who step up to serve in the U.S. armed forces.
Veterans and service members must sacrifice for the country, an experience that can be difficult and for many, even traumatic. Putting into words how appreciative civilians are of those sacrifices is not always easy and sometimes words do not seem to be enough.
For one nationwide nonprofit organization, the Quilts of Valor Foundation, expressions of thanks come not only with words of praise and recognition but also with something that will last many years into the future as a constant reminder of the nation’s gratitude, a handmade Quilt of Valor.
In the Pahrump Valley, the Nye County Valor Quilters have spent the last three years stitching and sewing, piecing and designing in their mission to cover area service members and veterans touched by war in comforting, healing Quilts of Valor.
Following its most recent presentation ceremony, the nonprofit has created and presented an incredible 530 quilts to service members, adding to a nationwide total that has now surpassed 233,000 quilts.
The Quilts of Valor are not simply bits of fabric stitched together. Each part of the quilt has a special meaning and purpose.
“The top of the quilt, with its many colors, shapes and fabrics, represents the community and the many individuals that we are,” the Nye County Valor Quilters’ Nov. 2 presentation ceremony program detailed. “The batting is the filler, the center of the quilt, its warmth It represents our hope that this quilt will bring warmth, comfort, peace and healing to the individual who receives it.
“The backing is the strength that supports the other layers. It represents the strength of the recipient, the support of his or her family, our communities and our nation,” the program continues. “Each stitch that holds the layers together represents love, gratitude and sometimes, the tears of the maker.”
During the Nov. 2 ceremony held inside the Pahrump Valley High School gymnasium, over 30 one-of-a-kind Quilts of Valor were bestowed on area veterans while a large crowd of friends, family and supporters looked on in sometimes teary-eyed joy. The veterans themselves also displayed some obvious emotions, ranging from solemn and somber to elated and exhilarated, with all taking the time to express their gratitude for the love and hard work that went into their very special Quilts of Valor.
There were a full dozen Army veterans who received Quilts of Valor on Saturday, including Terrance Bird, Richard Engel, Stephen Elliott, Jay Gould, Gary Griffith, Richard Heminger, Carree Henry, Patrick Nary, Mathias J. Piar, Edward Ronan, Michael Wells and Daniel Westlund.
Navy veterans given Quilts of Valor included Jack Adams, Leland Bass, Ronald Davenport, Raymond Kalkofen, Thomas Lyons, Daniel MacNicoll Jr., Michael Mouer, Brian Phillips, Jerald Piper, Raymond Romero and Dan Shea.
Veterans of the Air Force who were presented with quilts included Kenneth Bales, Gerald Brehn, Mahlon Broadwater II, Tom Duryea, Kenneth Gates, James King, Robert Liva, James Moore and Anthony Romero.
Douglas Price was the sole Marine Corps veteran honored with a quilt that morning.
The ceremony also included many other patriotic features, with professional singer Kittra Warren lending her melodious voice with renditions of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” along with “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless the USA.” Chaplain and veteran Doug Garlin gave the invocation to open the ceremony and the high school JROTC also took part, posting the colors while the audience recited the Pledge of Allegiance as one.
The Nye County Valor Quilters are a nonprofit organization run by unpaid volunteers who frequently reach into their own pockets to provide the materials necessary to continue crafting Quilts of Valor.
Donations are imperative for the organization and anyone willing to contribute to the cause may do so by sending a check to Nye County Valor Quilters, P.O. Box 3632, Pahrump, Nevada, 89041.
For those wishing to have a Quilt of Valor bestowed, the process can take up to 12 months, as each and every quilt is made by the loving hands of volunteer quilters and is a unique work of usable art.
To request a quilt for a current or former service member or to learn more visit www.qovf.org
Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at firstname.lastname@example.org
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