Quilters work to comfort for wounded soldiers
Diane Hendry knows why a quilt is sometimes worth more than its material.
"They're comforting. They're part of home," Hendry said.
She also knows the dangers facing members of the armed forces. Hendry's son-in-law served abroad from 2005 to 2006, she said.
"I was very fortunate Patrick came back unscathed. Had he been wounded, it would be heartwarming to know there were people who did not know my son-in-law who cared to see to his comfort," Hendry said.
Hendry is one of those people. So are the rest of the members of the Eudora Quilting Bees quilt guild. Its members support the armed forces in one of the ways they know best ---- by quilting.
The guild meets twice a month at Quilting Bits & Pieces, 736 Main St., to patch together quilts for the Quilts of Valor Foundation. The foundation connects quilts for servicemen and women who have been injured in the line of duty.
"I think for me, it doesn't matter how you personally feel about the war, but the thought that we could be doing something comforting for wounded soldiers, that's just priceless," organizer Christine Yoder said.
The group has one quilt nearly ready to send off to the foundation and several more on the way.
Yoder suggested the group become involved after reading about the foundation in a newspaper early this year. Since then, guild members have been hard at work for three hours at a time to producing quilts for the cause.
According to the Quilts of Valor Foundation Web site, more than 50,000 soldiers have been injured in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. The foundation has distributed to 10,749 of those servicemen and women.
"There are sadly, sadly plenty more quilts that need to be made. I thought it would be a nice way for the people in the community to get involved, too," Yoder said.
The guild members collaborate to form the quilt patterns, which they sew together to form a quilt top. The top is then bound to backing through the use of one of the two long-arm machines owned by guild members.
Once a quilt is finished, the guild members craft a presentation case. Afterward, the group informs the foundation, which sends them the name and address of an injured soldier.
"It goes the minute they give the name. The quilt is sent right to them," Yoder said.
Yoder is looking for more community members to help with the project. Knowledge of quilting isn't necessary, she said. The group needs help with the ironing, sewing or packaging of the quilts, Yoder said.
"It's not a political thing," she said. "It's not that I feel like the war's great or the war's awful. I think these soldiers need some comfort."
The quilting meetings also provide guild members with valuable social time, Yoder said.
"We usually have a good time. It's kind of a fellowship also," Yoder said. "We sit and talk about our lives or kids or our grandkids or whatever."
The work sessions are scheduled for Tuesday afternoons and Friday evenings to give guild members flexibility, Yoder said. The group meets from 6 to 9 p.m. every first Friday and from noon to 3 p.m. each third Tuesday.
"I just like the thought of doing something for somebody else for a change and the fellowship," Quilting Bees guild member Verldean Hueston said.
For more information about the project, call Yoder at 542-1366 or visit the Quilts of Valor Foundation Web site at www.qovf.org.