Saturday, November 12, 2016

THIS is why I make quilts

Yesterday was a really good day! I was honored to be part of the Veterans Day Assembly at Monroeville and it was wonderful. 

A couple of young ladies from the junior class, Addi and Tabitha, worked closely with an elementary teacher, Mrs. Dreschel, to organize the assembly. The girls put together a neat video thanking veterans, designed the program that was distributed to everyone, and they presented a gift to the Monroeville VFW. There was a lot involved in the program itself, including a breakfast for the veterans, a lot music by the high school band, choir and various elementary classes,and even a coloring and essay contest for the elementary school. The winners of the essay contest read their papers and a senior young man spoke about the impact of Veterans day on him. Both of his parents are veterans and his speech was very touching. Also included was a Quilts of Valor presentation. That's where I come in the picture.

I'm sure you long-time readers remember when I made quilts for a couple of students who were involved in a very serious accident in January of 2015. You can read about them HERE

Heart Quilt - 2.5"  squares - Signature Quilt

Heart Quilt - 2.5"  strips - Signature Quilt

You might also remember that during her recovery from a traumatic brain injury, I tutored Allie. I loved working with her!

Allie is now a sophomore and doing amazingly well. This past summer, Allie and I talked about ways for her to give back to the school community (she calls them her school family), for all of the prayers, thoughts, help, and support that they showed her. She asked what kind of volunteer stuff I do and her eyes lit up when I told her about Quilts of Valor.

We got right to work to see if she'd be permitted to have the presentation at school during the Veterans Day Assembly. Once she got the approval, she needed to determine who, within the school family was a veteran and if they would accept a quilt. While she did that, I started sewing! When it was all said and done, five quilts were presented during the assembly and five others were presented in private.

Here are a some pictures of yesterday's presentation. (Since I was involved in the presentation, I want to thank Allie's mom Wendy, and the art teacher, Laurie, for sharing their pictures with me.)

I was so happy for Allie. I know she was nervous, but you could not tell it from the way she handled herself. I was amazed at how well she did. I don't know if this will work, but HERE is a link that includes a video of her speech.

While Allie and her friend Chloe covered the veterans, I called them from the audience and provided information about their years of service. It was very emotional for the veterans, many who thought that they didn't really do anything special and that they didn't deserve any special recognition. We beg to differ! They ARE special!

Of course there were a few chuckles too, especially when I'm sure Mr. Sparks wanted to make sure the girls did not step on his healing foot. 

It was very emotional to watch as the girls draped the quilts over the shoulders of the veterans and told them, "We have your back and we have you covered. Thank you for your service to our country." Allie's family is good friends with the last recipient (Mr. Sparks), and she was smiling as she picked up his quilt.

This might be my favorite picture of the day. I was totally blown away when there was a spontaneous standing ovation after the final quilt was presented. And the best part of that is the fact that it was the students who stood first and applauded. I love it when I see the positive in kids and not only the negative. It made me smile, and I was sure to tell the students how proud of them I was. 

There were pictures and videos posted on Facebook about the ceremony and that was nice to see. (I am so over the political negativity!) And I was surprised this morning when I went to a guild meeting and had one of the members show me that there was an article in the local paper. Here's a link to the article in the Norwalk Reflector :-)


Needled Mom said...

It sounds like a fabulous presentation. It must have been amazing to have been there and see it in person.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

What a wonderful, positive event in this time of tormoil.

Linda Swanekamp said...

Thank you so much for sharing such a profound and wonderful experience!

Valerie Reynolds said...

What a fantastic post!! (ANd event)

Suze said...

This is gonna be long -
1. Thank you for working with Allie - it's amazing to see students blossom. A friend talked me into tutoring inner-city students who are transported via vans to a church for tutoring/mentoring one day a week. We have 1st - 5th graders this year. There are criteria they have to meet in the program that transports them, including conduct. Because it is on church premises, we can start and end with prayer and have a Bible memory verse.
2. Thank you for involving Allie in the Veterans Day program. And thank you for generously making the quilts. It is good for her to honor the teachers and it is good for her to have some public speaking experience.
3. Veterans Day means more and more to me as I get older. My father was a Lt. Col. in the Army. He was very, very humble about his rank. He had to quit the Army before he retired. He was just too sick - I don't understand. I know he was active during WWII and served in the Reserves for years. He was so sick and felt his job came first and could not get the 60+ miles round trip for a monthly meeting and however far to summer camp. He had Parkinson's Disease.
4. When I was about 9 my mother and I went to Fort Benning, Georgia with him. There was a Vietnam simulation. We sat on bleachers. Dad pointed out what was the focus of fighting once it got dark. I had no idea of Vietnam. We lived in Podunk, West Virginia with 3 small TV channels and little news which did not interest me. The helicopters flew right over the bleachers and I thought they were going to hit us. Prior to the presentation, helicopters brought in soldiers to see and/or participate in the presentation. They were saluting my dad. I asked why all the saluting. My dad with all his rank told me that he was saluting those men. No, they were actually saluting my dad - that's how humble my father was.
5. My son and I went to see Billy Joel in concert in Tulsa this past Friday night. At the beginning of one of the songs, the lights began to flash in an orderly fashion from left to right and got faster and faster and there was a whirring noise that got faster and faster. Then the drum was LOUD! Then the song really began. On the backdrop were pictures of war and particularly Vietnam. There were pictures of Vietnam. We were up in the nose bleed section. When the lights came up on stage at the end, the veterans shown on the backdrop were all on stage. Billy Joel went over and shook the hand of each of the veterans - men and women. He asked us all to thank them. I ashamed to say that my son did not applaud for them. I don't think he knows that my mother and I often thought that my dad's Parkinson's might have been caused by his being on the first ship to get to Japan after the bomb was dropped. Our family may have paid a huge price not having him whole with us for a long time and having the burden of his care.
6. One of my newest and dearest friends used to do USO shows - she and her band. She quit to take care of her mother. She is having a rough time with the election results, personally. She kept my granddaughter while we went to the Billy Joel concert which helped her focus her thoughts other places. When we got back, I first told her that one of the songs played and not sung was OKLAHOMA. That brought a smile to her face. Then when I told her of the tribute to the veterans, she beamed.
7. I suffered from PTSD from other issues. When I realized at the end of the veteran song, that the lights and whirring sound were helicopters, my PTSD kicked in and back to the summer camp when I was 9. I cannot imagine if I had that reaction what the veterans have.
Again, thanks for your post and all you do.