From the Vietnam Wall to the shores of Camp Pendleton, Quilts of Honor has traveled the Nation to honor Veterans, Service Members, and the Families of the Fallen Heroes. As we have traveled near and far, we have collected memories of appreciation, thanks, gratitude, and rememberances. Memories that we could never forget. Memories we could never replace. As we visit new Cities, States, and Military Bases; we will share with you every moment we can. It is our goal to share with you the thanks we feel so honored to recieve as we give thanks to those whom have served to protect our freedoms and liberties.
Quilts of Honor group finds way around obstacles in Washington
STOCKTON – A local charitable group isn’t letting a little thing like a government shutdown get in the way of their long-planned trip to Washington D.C. to display more than 100 homemade quilts, then give them to wounded warriors.
Founded by Valley Springs resident Gail Belmont, 62, Quilts of Honor arrived in Washington with about 70 volunteers and even more quilts – right before Congress failed to pass a spending plan and the partial shutdown of the federal government began.
Since then, the group has been hopping barricades and changing plans on the fly while putting patriotic quilts in the hands of people who have risked their lives for their country.
“We didn’t let the shutdown stop us,” Belmont said.
The volunteers paid their own way to Washington for a ceremony and weekend-long display of the quilts at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, she said. “To have them not do a show just was not American.” Instead, the group was able to reschedule to George Washington’s Mount Vernon home, about 15 miles away from the museum.
Quilts of Honor exists to provide quilts to active service members and veterans, a gesture of gratitude for those who risked their lives in combat.
Based in Valley Springs, it has about 10 chapters in the state and spots across the country. It has strong ties to San Joaquin County. Last month Stockton’s American Legion Karl Ross Post No. 16 and the United Way of San Joaquin hosted a fundraiser to support the group.
“They’re making it work. They’re very optimistic and upbeat,” said Richard Campos, a member of Karl Ross Post who talked with members of the group while he, too, was in Washington. “They’re all pros and veterans, themselves. They know what they’re doing.”
After the three-day show, the group was going to distribute quilts to the wounded at a neighboring Marine base. The shutdown quashed that plan, too, Belmont said. But they’re working on getting those quilts in deserving hands.
Despite the shutdown, the Quilts group was able to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday. There, they came across a bus filled with wounded warriors and offered to pay their entrance fees for the Mt. Vernon show, she said.
And when the show is over, the group might go back to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, where they had given out some quilts on Wednesday.
Belmont, herself a veteran, had planned to play “Taps” at the wall during a ceremony the group planned. They got the necessary permit, but the memorial was closed and blocked by barricades.
Group members pushed the barricades aside and held their ceremony, Belmont said. Others followed, including Vietnam veterans who were given quilts, she said.
“It’s been quite an adventure.”
Contact reporter Zachary K. Johnson at (209) 546-8258 firstname.lastname@example.org.
WWII veteran receives Quilt of Honor
Jack Little was recognized Nov. 11, Veterans Day, for service to his country in World War II, by receiving a handcrafted quilt at O’Connor Woods in Stockton from Quilts of Honor.
Five years in the Navy took Little through perilous times.
His convoy had to evade enemy subs in the Atlantic. His destroyer was involved in the invasion of Normandy and then he was deployed to the Pacific for the invasions of Okinawa and Japan.
Quilts of Honor is a nonprofit program that awards quilts to veterans who have served our country in current and in past conflicts.
Many of our wounded warriors from Northern California are flown into Travis Air Force Base, where each is now given a special quilt in a presentation case with a letter of appreciation from its makers.
Each quilt is unique, created by one or more volunteers.
The organization also responds to requests for quilts for those who fought with valor in other conflicts.
In October, Quilts of Honor director Gail Belmont and her family traveled 1,200 miles to the Navajo Nation Museum in Arizona to bestow quilts to the remaining Navajo Code Talkers of World War II.
Fifty quilts and 65 lap robes were awarded to veterans of all services at the Martinez Veterans Hospital in a ceremony with American Legion Post 29 and VFW Post 1351 on Nov. 10.
Information submitted by Mary Ann Behrens