APG quilters donate 37 quilts to Wounded Warriors
July 30, 2009
Quilts for Heroes, a nonprofit organization of quilters who meet in the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground, continued their support of America's Wounded Warriors with a donation of 37 quilts to Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
As is customary, prior to each donation, the quilts were blessed during a gathering at the Edgewood Area Chapel July 13.
Carol Hansen, the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center employee who founded the organization, said that when WRAMC Chaplain John Kallerson who usually performs the blessing deployed to Iraq, APG chaplains were happy to step in.
Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Jeff Zust, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command chaplain, performed the blessing. Zust was accompanied by Chaplain (Capt.) Jonathan Morse, 22d Chemical Battalion.
"Chaplain Jeff Zust graciously agreed to come in and bless our next delivery of quilts that they might bring comfort and convey our deep appreciation to our Soldiers and their Family members for their sacrifices," Hansen said.
Members gathered in the chapel's fellowship hall for a light meal prior to the blessing and some continued to work on quilts that would be included in the delivery.
The quilts were displayed on folding chairs and each included a matching pillow case.
Hansen said a Quilts for Heroes label with the group's address is sewn onto each quilt and that they often receive thanks for their gift.
"We are occasionally lucky to hear from the Soldiers who receive the quilts, and we keep a scrapbook of their cards, letters and photographs," Hansen said.
Zust said he was impressed with the wide array of designs of which no two were alike. They included a quilt with handwritten messages of thanks from members of the community that were collected during the APG Armed Forces Day celebration in May.
"You can see the work that went into them," Zust said. "All the patterns are unique and colorful."
He added that while visiting Soldiers recovering from their wounds he noticed many of them had quilts.
The group formed a circle around the quilts as Zust offered the blessing.
"It's important to pray over these because God really does incredible things for people," he said.
He offered thanks for the quilters and their good works.
"Thank you for how your spirit moved them to get these projects done," he said. "You know the desire that went into every stitch, and we pray that your healing spirit and comfort are in them. Bless the work that went into them and the work they will do in the future."
"Thank you," he told the quilters, "for everything you do for our Warriors."
Members commented that they enjoy the group, which welcomes novice as well as advanced quilters.
Barbara Knapp, an ECBC retiree, said this is her second year with the group.
"I learned about it during an Organization Day event, and I've been with them ever since," Knapp said. "It's been fun. I'm fairly new to quilting and everyone is great to work with and eager to help. It's a great group to become involved with."
Laverne Ogieste, RDECOM, said she likes the positive energy of the group.
"I believe that everybody gives off a positive spirit that blends itself into the fabric itself," Ogieste said. "That's what motivated me to join. I believe in turning a negative situation into something positive, and I pray that that positive energy goes into each quilt and aids in their healing."
"Whatever we make, it has to be worthy of our Warriors," Hansen added. "What they are doing is special so what we do for them should be just as special."
The quilts were presented to the WRAMC Family Services Office July 17.
Membership in Quilts for Heroes is open to anyone. The group meets 7 p.m. each Monday at the Edgewood Area Chapel. Attendance at meetings is not required to be a member.
Other members in attendance for the quilt blessing included Brenda Aleman, RDECOM; Damon Smith and Kim Miranda, ECBC; and civilians Dottie Kreutzer, Cathy Swisko, Anne Hottle and Ruth Dorminy.