DVIDS – News – Some Heroes Wear Quilts: Army Reserve Soldier Recognized by Quilts of Valor at International Quilt Festival


Not all heroes wear capes, but the Quilts of Valor Foundation showed how some heroes wear quilts.

Col. Tina L. Kirkpatrick, commanding officer of the 475th Quartermaster Group, U.S. Army Reserve, receives a custom quilt during a public demonstration of appreciation conducted Nov. 3, 2022, at the International Quilt Festival in Houston.

“It’s an overwhelming experience to receive a quilt from the very person who made it,” said Kirkpatrick, who in his civilian capacity is the suicide prevention program manager for the 75th Innovation Command. “Feelings of comfort, support and gratitude literally embraced me with a fabric stitched together by love and generosity.”

Since 2003, the Quilts of Valor Foundation has covered veterans and war-affected service members with handmade quilts from one of more than 10,000 Foundation members nationwide. The Foundation reached an important milestone by producing its 300,000th quilt in April 2022.

“Not everyone answers the call to serve our country,” said Lori Thompson, executive director of the Quilts of Valor Foundation. “…We will never know exactly what each veteran goes through and how they are affected by war, but we can welcome our veterans home, support them and their families, and thank them for their service whenever possible. .

Donna Swanson, New Hampshire State Coordinator, Quilts of Valor, presided over the ceremony minutes after the showrooms opened on the first day of the International Quilt Festival, a four-day convention that draws more than 50,000 visitors each year.

“Our quilters know freedom doesn’t come free,” said Swanson, whose husband served in the Vietnam War and whose sons are currently serving in the Army and Marine Corps. “…This quilt is meant to thank you for your sacrifice…It is meant to comfort you and remind you that although your family and friends may not be with you at all times, you are forever in our thoughts and prayers.”

Swanson first met Kirkpatrick in September at the Chicago Midway Airport United States Overseas Center as they waited to board their respective connecting flights.

“I was going to a wedding and [Kirkpatrick] was on his way to a change of command ceremony,” said Swanson, who grew the number of Quilts of Valor sewing clubs in New Hampshire from two to six in four years. “She had never heard of Quilts of Valor, but before we left the USO, she submitted an application online to receive one.”
In addition to snuggling up comfortably with her handmade gift of honor, Kirkpatrick sees opportunities to incorporate the quilt into her resilience program at the 75th Innovation Command.

“The mental and emotional benefits of art therapy provide a powerful addition to a soldier’s resilience toolkit,” Kirkpatrick said. “I love providing hands-on applications of art therapy at the 75th IC Battle Assemblies. Each soldier could sew a small piece of fabric, and together they could create a quilt that visualizes their teamwork, resilience, and creativity.

“The quilts are a catalyst for healing,” said Swanson, who currently resides in Nashua, NH “They put smiles on people’s faces. Knowing that people are happy when I show up and even happier when I show them up. leaves with their newly received quilts is the best part of my job.

Find out how Quilts of Valor can honor veterans in your local community at www.qovf.org.

Date taken: 11.03.2022
Date posted: 11.06.2022 17:34
Story ID: 432727
Location: HOUSTON, TX, USA
Hometown: NASHUA, New Hampshire, USA

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