memory quilt
Jemeica Kennedy signs the Memory Quilt, which has pictures of each 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division Soldier who died during the unit\'s deployment to Afghanistan. Once finished, the quilt will be presented to the brigade leadership to be hung in the headquarters.

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. - When one-year-old Reagan Abbey Jenkins begins looking into her father's history, her research will lead to a Memory Quilt that will be hanging up in the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division Headquarters.

Her father, Capt. Cory Jenkins, a physician assistant with 5/2 who worked at Madigan Healthcare System's Okubo Medical and Dental Clinic before the deployment, was one of many faces imprinted onto the quilt killed in Afghanistan.

Brigade Soldiers, Family members, friends and colleagues were invited to sign the quilt by Judy Fattor and other volunteers from Okubo during the brigade's change of command ceremony. Jemeica Kennedy's husband is in 5th Bde., 2nd Inf. Div., and she stopped by to sign it because she wanted to say thank you and show support for people her husband knew personally. "They were fighting for my freedom to keep me safe and I know I'm safe because of them, which is a big relief and a huge sacrifice for all of us," Kennedy said.

The quilt was designed by former Okubo administrative officer Fattor as a way to say thanks to the brigade for its sacrifices and protecting America's freedom thousands of miles away in Afghanistan. She has put more than 80 hours into making the quilt. At first, she wanted to decorate a flag, but when she found out that her idea of "decoration" could be construed as "defacing," this was the next best idea, she said. "Making this quilt has been very cathartic for me, because I have had a real hard time with this deployment, and it means so much to put a face to the name, meet the Families and hear their stories," Fattor said.

Sgt. Hector Santos, a former member of 5/2, helped train up the brigade in preparation for deployment. He knew three Soldiers on the blanket, including Jenkins. "It's tough on the one hand, and on the other hand, I wish I was there with them and my heart goes out to the Families," he said.

Fattor originally planned to hang the quilt at the Okubo Clinic, but word of mouth reached its way to the brigade, and they asked her if it could be hung at the unit headquarters. She expects to deliver the quilt to the brigade in the very near future. "These guys will always be remembered with it hanging at the brigade," Fattor said. "I want people to remember not just the sacrifice they made, but their dedication to the mission."

Jenkins died Aug. 25 as a result of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. Santos and Fattor both spoke about his ability to get the job done selflessly. "He was the epitome of what a provider should be, and he was so selfless, so giving," Fattor said.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16