By Kerry Larsen, 88th RSCSeptember 11, 2009
YAKIMA TRAINING CENTER, Wash. -- Support to Soldiers comes in many forms, and few things are more tangible to wounded warriors than the quilts that warm their recovery.
Al Lind, 91, was recognized by the U.S. Army for his efforts to provide these quilts through the Quilts of Valor Foundation with a plaque presentation here, Sept. 10.
Brig. Gen. Frank Cipolla, Deputy Commanding General of the 88th Regional Support Command (RSC) at Fort McCoy, Wis., presented Lind with the Commanding Generals Blue Devil Award on behalf of Maj. Gen Glenn Lesniak, who leads the 88th RSC.
Three generations of the Lind family attended the event, along with about 40 friends.
Lind is a World War II veteran and a former prisoner of war. Through the Quilts of Valor program, he has created the tops of over 400 quilts so far. Lind and his wife Helen reside in Quincy, Wash.
"I just wanted to thank him, from the bottom of my heart, because what he is doing is a great service to my Soldiers and to his country too," said Brig. Gen. Cipolla. Regarding Lind's lifetime contributions, Cipolla added, "If it wasn't for our World War II veterans and what they did, we would not be here. You know what they say, freedom isn't free. At times, you have to fight for that freedom."
Lind presented Brig. Gen. Cipolla with one of his quilts during the emotionally-charged event.
Said Lind, "I've received letters and phone calls from veterans who have received a quilt. One of them stopped in about three weeks ago from Bellevue, said he just wanted to shake my hand. I've heard from a head nurse in Iraq, a Major I think. She thanked me for all the quilts. I've been at this about two years and hope to continue doing it for many years to come."
The mission of the QOV Foundation is to cover all wounded and injured servicemembers from the Global War on Terror, whether physical or psychologically, with wartime quilts called Quilts of Valor (QOV). To date over 24,000 Quilts of Valor have been distributed.
Catherine Roberts of Seaford, Del., started the Quilts of Valor Foundation in 2003 when her son, then with the 630th Military Police Company, was deployed from Germany to Iraq.
By virtue of being an Army mother, she joined other Americans who send their loved ones into harm's way. She started the group by appealing to both quilt-toppers (those who piece the top of quilts together) and longarming groups (those who machine quilt) to volunteer their fabric, their talents and time to make quilts to comfort the wounded.