Local quilters replace veteran's quilt
Paula Perry was surprised when she learned that a quilt she and others made for a veteran who served in Iraq hadn’t reached him but instead ended up being sold at a church rummage sale.
Perry, her business partners Carol Riggs and Jan Meisinger, and a group of other quilters meet once a month to sew quilts donated to veterans through the national organization Quilts of Valor.
Perry, Riggs, and Meisinger own Sew What Quilt Shop in Marion. Three to five quilts are pieced during monthly work meetings attended by three to 11 volunteers. The quilt tops are sent to Topeka to be quilted.
The quilt that went astray and was sold was intended for an Alabama veteran who was in a military hospital.
Quilts are made by quilting groups in the same state as the recipient, but if those quilting groups are overwhelmed with projects, groups in other states are asked to help out, Perry said. Marion quilters were asked to make the Alabama man’s quilt.
The group is unable to release the Alabama soldier’s name because of confidentiality rules.
What happened between the quilt being sent on its way to the veteran and it ending up at the rummage sale isn’t known, but it was purchased by a Georgia woman looking to decorate in red, white, and blue for her son who was deployed at that time.
A tag on the back of the quilt that identified it as a Quilt of Valor and listed the names of the quilters led the Georgia woman to put sharable posts on social media, hoping to reach the veteran or Perry so the quilt could go to its intended recipient.
When her message did reach Perry, the Georgia woman mailed back the quilt. The quilt showed so much wear it could not be repaired, Perry said. A new quilt was in order.
The Marion quilting group then went to work on a replacement quilt for the veteran who hadn’t received the quilt intended for him.
Perry was able to contact the veteran’s wife, who said she’d tried to find the quilt when her husband was in the military hospital after his return from Iraq. She’d contacted the hospital to ask if it had arrived there, but turned up nothing.
When the new quilt was completed, Perry arranged for a formal presentation, as is usually done, but the veteran’s wife requested that the quilt simply be mailed to him. Perry mailed the quilt in late October.
Perry has been involved with Quilts of Valor 14 years, even before she and her partners opened the quilt shop 10 years ago. She found out about Quilts of Valor during a quilt show.
“My son was in the Army at that time and he was deployed to Iraq,” Perry said. “I wanted something to do that I knew how to do. I ran into some people at a quilt show in Wichita who told me about it, and that’s how I got started.”
Marion resident Jerry Kline was recently given a Quilt of Valor for his service with the Army Reserve.
“It was a very great honor, but I don’t think I deserved it,” Kline said.
A veteran can be nominated for a quilt on the Quilts of Valor website.
Last modified Dec. 23, 2019