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28 Pahrump Veterans Honored with Quilts of Valor

28 Pahrump Veterans Honored with Quilts of Valor

Veteran Michael Bejcek's quilt was made by Gale Isaacson

28 Pahrump Veterans Honored with Quilts of Valor

 

On March 3, 2018, the Nye County Valor Quilters held a ceremony where they presented Quilts of Valor to 28 deserving veterans from Pahrump. It was a well-attended event filled with emotion, respect, and thanks to those who served.

Who is the Quilts of Valor Foundation?

In 2003, while living in the NE corridor of the United States, Catherine Roberts had a vision. Her son had just been deployed to Iraq, and she was extremely anxious.  On the official website, http://www.qovf.org/about-qovf/qov-history/, she describes what she saw in her own words:

“The dream was as vivid as real life. I saw a young man sitting on the side of his bed in the middle of the night, hunched over. The permeating feeling was one of utter despair. I could see his war demons clustered around, dragging him down into an emotional gutter. Then, as if viewing a movie, I saw him in the next scene wrapped in a quilt. His whole demeanor changed from one of despair to one of hope and wellbeing. The quilt had made this dramatic change. The message of my dream was:

Quilts = Healing

The model appeared simple: have a volunteer team who would donate their time and materials to make a quilt. One person would piece the top and the other would quilt it. I saw the name for this special quilt. It was a Quilt of Valor, QOV.”

What is a Quilt of Valor?

These quilts are made by volunteers and are high quality, not something that has been thrown together. They’ve all been hand or machine quilted and sometimes take a team of women to finish, or an individual can make the whole thing. Each quilt is one of a kind and made for a specific veteran. If the quilter knows something about the recipient, she will make it specifically for that person.

The quilts are presented at an awards-like ceremony. They are gifted to any veteran who has been touched by any war as “a thank you for {their} service, sacrifice, and valor” in serving our country in combat.

In 2003, the first quilt was given to a soldier from Minnesota. At that time, he was at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, MD where he was recovering from the loss of his leg while serving in Iraq. Since that first presentation, quilts have been presented to 181,935 veterans (as of this writing) across the nation.

The Quilts of Valor Foundation is a non-profit organization that is run strictly by volunteers. The effort is now supported by 10,000 volunteers throughout the country. Their mission is “to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing quilts.”

What’s in a Quilt?

The foundation has a poem that describes why the quilt was chosen as the gift to comfort the veterans and welcome them home:

“We think of each layer of a quilt in this way:

  • The Top of the Quilt with its many colors, shapes, and fabrics, represent the community and the many individuals we are.
  • The Batting, the Filler, is 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.
  • Each Stitch that holds the layers together represents Love, Gratitude, and sometimes the tears of the maker.

Welcome Home!!!!!!”

Nye County Valor Quilters (a group under Quilts of Valor)

In January 2016, Pahrump resident Denise Kearl answered what she feels was her calling. She worked with the Las Vegas QOV Foundation to start a group here in Nye County. They now have 38 members and to date have awarded over 230 quilts. Denise has managed the group since the beginning but is stepping down to move closer to her family. Elba Rocha will be taking her place at the helm.

Every veteran is eligible for receiving a quilt. To order one, go to the national foundation’s website, https://www.qovf.org/take-action/request-qov/ and fill out the request information. The national organization will then notify and pass on the information to the local group. Or you can call the new group leader, Elba Rocha, at (702) 336-8918.

The local group is also made up entirely of volunteers and appreciates any donations for the purchase of fabric and other quilting materials. They accept cash or checks made out to Nye County Valor Quilters that can be mailed to them at P.O. Box 3632, Pahrump, NV 89041. They are also looking for sponsors, are planning some fundraisers, and looking into the possibility of obtaining grants.

Pahrump has a large population of veterans, especially those who served in Vietnam. When they returned from duty, they were not welcomed back with open arms. Some were spat upon as they walked through the airports in their uniforms, in fact, some were coached not to wear their uniform home. It was not one of our nation’s more stellar moments in our history. In their acceptance speeches at the recent Quilts of Valor presentation, many of them tearfully said, this was the first time they had been thanked for their service to their country. It’s time we made these soldiers who gave so much of themselves feel welcomed home.

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