In my line of work, I get to interact with a lot of different Veterans, both active, and retired, and every so often one specific story really touches my heart.
I am going to try to tell it without naming names or units, so that no one's personal information gets used, but the point of the story is - Quilts are the start of the healing process in so many Veterans lives.
A few weeks ago I was with one of my favorite groups. We were able to present Quilts of Valor to them, and then hang out for a while. One particular Veteran really got choked up over his quilt. First off - he had never, ever, been thanked for his service.
He chose a quilt that was Red, White and Blue, even though, when he came back from deployment ( a 6 year deployment) he was denied medical benefits, as they had no proof of his service. At that time the guys who went off the radar had a very hard time being tracked. A commanding officer finally got all the paperwork filed and he was good to go.
He came back to the US, and promptly hid all of his war *stuff* , all of the photos, the memory book, the uniform... ALL of it, and his service was not mentioned much.
A few weeks ago, when he was presented his quilt, it brought back a lot of memories. His quilt was made in the honor of the Quilters Father, who was a WWII vet. This spoke to him. Another Veteran was honored in the presentation of this quilt.
His Quilt was quilted by a person in a town that his daughter had briefly resided in. I say briefly, as she was killed in a head on collision a few years ago at a very young age.
His Quilt spoke to him, it told him that it was going to be alright, that as long as he had the love and hugs that were worked into this quilt - he could survive.
Fast forward to last night. I was invited back to present quilts to some new members. He happened to be there, knowing full well that I would be there as well. I walked in to the first room, and he jumped up to hug me.
He said I brought you something. I was slightly shocked, as most of the times my arrival dates are kept quiet... He said, I went home that night and I pulled out my box of military memento's, and I wrapped myself in my quilt, and I was finally able to sort through it.
He brought me a copy of a picture of him and his unit, he brought a picture of his units patch, he brought me a map of all the places he had served, and some of the places he had been.
And he said - that this quilt was better than and "Doc Meds" they could give him.
I was brought to tears... I am not the crying type - ever... and he got me.
My point of all this is to convey to you the importance of our quilts, to let you know that we may never receive a thank you, we may never receive the *story* of the quilt, yet we are changing these veterans lives - one quilt at a time.