Employee's quilts sew rewarding
November 1, 2013
"Quilting is a creative outlet for me," said Brenda Aleman, contracting officer, Edgewood Division, Army Contracting Command-Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.
Quilts for Heroes, Aleman said, is a non-profit organization dedicated to honor and provide comfort to our American heroes.
Recently, the quilting group was contacted by the Baltimore affiliate of Fox News.
Reporter Melinda Roeder asked to attend one of the group's meetings to do a news story about the Quilts for Heroes. In October, she and Jed Gamber, cameraman, visited APG's Edgewood Chapel to film and interview group members in various stages of quilt making.
During their 2-hour visit, the news correspondents also spoke with two individuals who each received one of the group's quilts. The news story will air in early November.
"Melinda first contacted us after an online search led her to the Quilts for Heroes president, Carol Hansen," recalled Aleman. "This type of recognition is great for the group and helps to spread the word that we are here to support our military."
The group has been meeting for 10 years and became incorporated in 2007. One year later, Aleman became a contracting officer.
"Although I love my job, work as a KO can be stressful at times and I'm going full speed ahead all day long," said Aleman. "Quilting is very relaxing for me. I find great pleasure in working at my own speed and creating beautiful quilt designs."
Aleman learned to sew on her grandmother's treadle machine when she was 10-years-old. In high school she was a member of 4-H and volunteered as an instructor to teach the basics of sewing. Over time, her sewing focused on quilts.
"I've made approximately 100 quilts and I didn't keep a single one," Aleman explained. "When I make a quilt, I usually have someone in mind that I plan to give it to. It's so rewarding to give the gift of a quilt. Working with Quilts for Heroes is a way for me to do what I love and to thank our military heroes for the sacrifices they have made."
The Quilt for Heroes group has members at various skill levels, she said. "We have members who are making their first quilt while Carol is our expert with 40 years of experience."
Most of the quilts that the members have donated have gone to Walter Reed Army Medical Center but they are currently planning to provide quilts to the Fisher Houses of Maryland, Aleman pointed out. Fisher Houses are a non-profit network of comfort homes which enable families to stay near their military loved ones during hospitalization for a combat injury, illness or disease.
"On one particular donation visit to Walter Reed, we took approximately 100 quilts," she said. "I specifically remember one quilt that I donated ' it was my favorite. It had an African theme which featured animals indigenous to that country and had a zebra-print backing. I was glad that it went to this good cause."