Sunday, March 22, 2009

Memorial Quilts for Families of Fallen Troops

Independence Quilt Comforts Soldiers in Iraq
As the nation celebrated Memorial Day and July 4th with bands and parades, Kaye Vicars Hansen, State Coordinator for the Oregon Home of the Brave Quilt Project, was stitching comforting commemorative quilts for families of U.S. soldiers killed in action.
In 2005, Kay’s brother Don Vicars volunteered to serve in Iraq to train the Iraqi police officers. Don sent photos of his new quarters, with a glimpse of the dismal blanket on his bed. Immediately, Kay felt compelled to create a colorful quilt to make his new surroundings feel more like home. But to overcome this tough ex-marine’s protests, she suggested he use the quilt until he came home and then pass it on to other soldiers in Iraq until the mission was completed, in that way reminding each man that we’re grateful for their service and covering them in prayers.
Kay sent a blank journal along with the quilt, asking those who slept beneath this blanket of love to write about themselves in the journal. Don awoke Christmas Eve morning with the name of the ideal recipient of the quilt—Gunny Larry Sizemore, a retired Marine and decorated Viet Nam veteran, the Supervisor in charge of The Stables. Camp Striker Stables in Bagdad, Iraq offers a sanctuary for the weary, a place of rest for the tired, and a touch of home away from home for U.S. and Coalition forces.
Kaye’s “comforter” now adorns one of the couches waiting to cheer and warm our troops far from home and missing their loved ones. Every American soldier, press or dignitary who passes through the Stables take turns wrapping up in Kaye’s quilted stars and stripes. As the daughter of a proud Marine veteran, Kaye is honored that her Independence quilt takes a little piece of her where she cannot go to touch lives a world away to comfort and reassure each soldier of our deepest support and gratitude for their dedicated service in the name of freedom and Independence for all.
On behalf of the Oregon Chapters of The Hugs Project and The Home of the Brave Quilt Project, Kaye recently received a donation of $1000 from advance profits from Buckboard Quilts’ God Bless America Quilt Exhibit that is touring the U.S. for three years to benefit troops and help heal our torn nation.
Kaye submitted a 22” quilt entry for the GBA exhibit replicating her Independence Quilt and also a miniature of the 48”x84” memorial quilts created by HOTB volunteers. Started in 2004 by Don Beld of Redland, California, HOTB quilts replicate the Civil War-era bedroll quilts given to wounded soldiers by the U.S. Sanitary Commission, now known as the Red Cross. Kaye’s quilts were included in the GBA exhibit that recently cheered troops at Camp Striker Stables.
Children and adults are invited to enter their 22x22” patriotic quilts that pay tribute to our unsung heroes, depicting “liberty and justice for all” and their flag-waving loyalty to our “one nation under God.” Deadline is June 30, 2009. Mail your quilt to 12101 N. MacArthur, #137, Oklahoma City, OK 73162.
All profits from the $100/week-end quilt exhibit rental (free to military and veterans) along with possible publication of the patriotic quilts go to provide quilts for wounded and the families of the fallen. See quilt photos, entry and rental forms on Email to reserve the Patriotic Quilt Exhibit. See for more about volunteer opportunities.

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