Quilters sought to make quilts for returning soldiers through Quilts of Valor program
By Kristen Miller
COKATO, DASSEL, MN Since 2003, the Quilts of Valor program has been honoring veterans for their service by donating homemade quilts as they return home.
With a grandson serving in Afghanistan with the 849th Mobility Augmentation Company (MAC) out of Litchfield, Lenore Brown of Cokato, didn’t hesitate when she was asked to make a quilt for him through the local Quilts of Valor group.
The Quilts of Valor is seeking volunteers to provide one quilt for each of the 95 soldiers in the 849th MAC as they return home next June.
Quilts of Valor began with a mother from Delaware whose son was serving a one-year deployment to Iraq. Her desire was to see that “returning warriors were welcomed home with the love and gratitude they deserved,” according to the website.
To do so, she would link quilt-toppers with machine quilters on a national scale and these “wartime quilts” would be “a tangible reminder of an American’s appreciation and gratitude.”
To date, 90,927 quilts have been distributed to veterans; 120 have been distributed this month.
Quilts of Valor is not just for those returning home. Rather, it’s for anyone who has been affected by war past and present, noted Brown, who is also looking to provide quilts to a number of local veterans who served in Vietnam or World War II.
“The soldiers returning home from Vietnam never got any recognition at all,” Brown commented.
In an effort to drum up support and reach the goal of 95 quilts by June, Brown is organizing two Quilts of Valor sew weekends Friday, Oct. 18 to Sunday, Oct. 20; and Friday, Oct. 25 to Sunday, Oct. 27.
Starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Cokato Centennial Room in the library/museum building, volunteers can assist with sewing, cutting, ironing, and layout. There is also a potluck planned for noon and evening meals.
The quilts will be presented to the soldiers of the 849th MAC during their return home presentation program in June.
Those who don’t quilt can still be involved in the project by donating monetarily or providing quilt-quality fabric in navy, red, or white.
Donations can be sent to Dorelle Malmberg, 408 N. Hubbard Avenue, Litchfield, MN, 55355, memo: “Quilts of Valor.”
Malmberg is one of the local organizers of the program and will be doing all of the final machine work on the quilts.
If anyone would like to nominate a soldier to receive a Quilt of Valor quilt, contact Brown at (320) 286-2259.