Quilts of Valor given to local veterans in honor of their service
ELKINS — Two local veterans have been presented with Quilts of Valor in recognition of their service to America.
The quilts were presented on Dec. 27 to Jerry Smith of Elkins and Raymond “Butch” Jackson of Paden City, a former Elkins resident.
Smith served in the military from1965-1968, receiving two Purple Hearts, while Jackson served from 1965-68, and received one Purple Heart.
Jackson had been nominated for a Quilt of Valor earlier, but did not want to be honored without Smith, his childhood friend.
Each quilt is handmade and features the name of who pieced, quilted and bound the quilt, the date and the name of the veteran being honored. The quilt is placed around the shoulders of the veteran to simulate a “hug from home.”
The presentation featured the following text: “The Quilts of Valor Foundation wishes to recognize you for your service to our nation. We consider it our privilege to do so. Though we may never know the extent of your sacrifice to protect and defend the United States of America, we award you the Quilt of Valor as an expression of gratitude from a grateful nation.
“The Quilt of Valor is an expression of gratitude meant to thank you and comfort you, for honoring and for leaving all that they held dear to serve in a time of crisis and peacetime. Thank you for your service and sacrifice.”
Smith and Jackson also received official Quilts of Valor certificates signed by Lori Thompson, executive director of Quilts of Valor Foundation, and Maribeth Shreve, the West Virginia State Coordinator of the Quilts of Valor Foundation.
The stated mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is “to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.”
The Quilts of Valor Foundation began in 2003 with a dream. Founder Catherine Roberts’ son Nat was deployed in Iraq. She said, “The dream was as vivid as real life. I saw a young man sitting on the side of his bed in the middle of the night, hunched over. The permeating feeling was one of utter despair.
“I could see his war demons clustered around, dragging him down into an emotional gutter. Then, as if viewing a movie, I saw him in the next scene wrapped in a quilt,” Roberts said. “His whole demeanor changed from one of despair to one of hope and well-being. The quilt had made this dramatic change. The message of my dream was quilts equal healing.
“The model appeared simple: have a volunteer team who would donate their time and materials to make a quilt. One person would piece the top and the other would quilt it. I saw the name for this special quilt. It was a Quilt of Valor, a QOV.”