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Quilts help veterans heal from physical, emotional wounds of war

The Windsor Gardens chapter of Quilts of Valor has been honored as a Denver7 Everyday Hero..png
Posted at 10:15 PM, May 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-30 08:27:54-04

DURING THE QUILTS OF VALOR CEREMONY, a war veteran is wrapped in new handmade quilt. It's often an emotional moment for those receiving the quilt and the people who made it.  — DENVER – The Quilts of Valor ceremony is a simple ceremony. After sharing a bit about themselves, a war veteran is wrapped in a new handmade quilt — a symbol of those who lovingly worked on it hugging them.

For those receiving the quilts and the people who made them, it can often be an emotional moment.

“Especially the Vietnam veterans who were not always greeted warmly when they came home,” said Windsor Gardens chapter founder Lois Wageck. “Some of them will tell us this is the first time anybody has been given any appreciation.”

It takes 30 to 40 hours for the women of Wageck's Quilts of Valor chapter to cut and piece together one of their patriotic quilts. They’ve made more than 300 of them since 2015 when Wageck and her friend Mary founded the chapter.

“Mary just heard about it and said, ‘Let's do it,’” Wageck siad. “We had about six people that met for the first time.”

Now on Fridays, around a dozen women can be found working on the quilts in the Windsor Gardens sewing room. They get a lot of sewing done, and a lot of talking.

“We are very social in our group,” Debbie Patterson said. “We get together, have a great time, eat food and do a lot of sewing.”

Patterson said making the quilts is a labor of love for everyone involved.

“I think everyone has a family member or a friend who has been in the military,” Patterson said. “We want to thank them for their service. We want to welcome them home and wrap the quilts around them to make them feel loved and get hugged from the quilt.”

The families of many of the veterans who receive the quilts end up donating back to the chapter to help them buy material for additional quilts. They also share stories about how the quilts have helped those who have been touched by war.

“I just listened to a voicemail from a woman today whose husband got a quilt,” Patterson said. “She just wanted us to know he sleeps with it every night. He has it on his chair and is underneath it watching TV. She says he was in the Vietnam war, so it's been many, many years, and she says this is the best he has slept since he came home.”

Anyone interested in getting involved can search for a Quilts of Valor location near you on their website.

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