Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Quilt for Wounded Warriors

It all started with a slightly odd email to our Westside Quilters email address (I'm guild president)  from an Air Force Captain in Afghanistan - someone who I didn't know - asking if we were the group who had sent her unit quilts for their wounded and their medal ceremonies and if we could send more as soon as possible. We were not, but I was intrigued and hoped to help her find her way, so I started with Google and then called and emailed a few quilting contacts and finally came up with the name of a lady nearby in the Los Angeles area who I was told would know.  Well, Arlene Zobrist did know and she is in fact in charge of a group in Southern California's South Bay that makes and collects quilts to be sent to wounded soldiers in Iraq an Afghanistan. She contacted the Air Force Captain and made sure that more quilts were on the way.

As I learned more about Arlene ( a member of  Blue Star Mothers - her son is in the Air Force) and her group "Quilts for Wounded Warriors" I was hooked. The quilts are made in patriotic fabrics and colors of 100% cotton fabric and batting - they will be washed often and must be fire resistant. They are forwarded directly to hospitals in the battle zone and are given to the wounded as they  are evacuated out of theater to Europe or the US. The transport planes and helicopters are cold and these provide needed warmth and comfort. Wounded Warriors is one of the few groups that sends quilts outside of the US. Most other groups provide quilts for the wounded when they arrive back in the states. The local chapter of Blue Star Mothers provides some of the funds for shipping. Arlene said that her group's quilts follow the soldier from the initial hospital overseas all the way back to the states where they become beloved heirlooms. she has sent me copies of wonderful thank you letters from the soldiers. I asked her about the required size which at 48" X 78" is long and narrow.  They are stretcher size, she told me.
That's what finally got me.

I invited Arlene to visit one of our Guild meetings this last February where she gave us a moving presentation and a trunk show of some of the recently donated quilts before they were sent on our way. Several of our members have made their own Wounded Warriors quilt and they will be shown  along with mine made from Sylvia Davis' handsome Kumasi Star pattern at our next meeting on May 21st and then will be delivered to Arlene for their trip to Afghanistan.I'll post more photos of the quilts on the Westside Quilters Website!

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