(SMYRNA, TN) Four veterans at Stewarts Creek Middle School were honored with Quilts of Valor from the Friendship Quilters Guild of Smyrna members.
SRO Chris Freischlag, social studies teacher Allen Kessinger, education assistant Retired Col. Dwight Gray and math teacher Tina Duggin received the quilts along with six other veterans Saturday to recognize the military who served and were willing to sacrifice for America’s freedom.
The Quilts of Valor is a grassroots group of quilters from all over the U.S.
Quilter Catherine Roberts had the idea when her son was deployed in Iraq in 2003 to comfort veterans with quilts when they were wounded while serving. Since then, 354,712 Quilts of Valor were awarded in the U.S., Germany, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Treasurer Anita Elliott of the Friendship Quilters Guild of Smyrna said the group honored the veterans for their service.
“Our mission is to honor our service members and veterans who have been touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor,” Elliott said.
The quilters honored victims for leaving their loved ones, standing in harm’s way and protecting Americans from the effects of war. They know freedom is not free.
“The cost of our freedom is the dedication of lives of men and women like you, and this quilt is meant to say ‘thank you’ for your sacrifice,” Elliott said. “And finally, this quilt is meant to offer comfort to you, and to remind you that although your family and friends cannot be with you at all times, you are forever in all of our thoughts and our hearts.”
Quilts are not charity and consist of three layers they think of in this way:
- The top of the quilt with its many colors, shapes, and fabrics, represents the communities and the many individuals.
- The batting, the filler, is the center of the quilt, its warmth. It represents the hope that this quilt will bring warmth, comfort, peace and healing to the individual who receives it.
- The backing is the strength that supports the other layers. It represents the strength of the recipient, the support of his or her family, the communities and the nation.
- Each stitch that holds the layers together represents love, gratitude, and sometimes the tears of the maker.
“On behalf of the Quilts of Valor Foundation and a grateful nation, with our deepest appreciation, we thank you for your service to our country and hope this Quilt of Valor brings you comfort, healing, and warmth,” Elliott said. “Thank you all for your service and welcome home.”