Stars & Stripes Quilt Guild of Hinesville presented gifts of appreciation to wounded soldiers from Fort Stewart’s Warrior Transition Unit on April 7 in the Patriot Auditorium at Winn Army Community.
The nonprofit group presented 10 handcrafted quilts to soldiers as wartime tokens of comfort and appreciation in front of a standing-room-only crowd.
“We would like to give our soldiers a tremendous ‘thank you’ for their service and sacrifice,” local guild President Debbie Flatt said. “Soldiers of the 3rd ID are not only members of the community but members of our family. When members of our community family are hurting, other members step up to give a helping and comforting hand. Today, this hand is being offered by presenting 60 of our wounded with these quilts of comfort.”
The guild is an offspring of Quilts of Valor Foundation. The foundation was started in 2003 by Delaware native Catherine Roberts. Roberts wanted to give a tangible representation of love by comforting wounded soldiers affected by war.
Years later, Robert’s vision of providing quilts to injured service members helped to produce hundreds of nonprofit groups like Stars & Stripes.
More than 23,000 active-duty soldiers, reservists and guardsmen have been awarded quilts of valor.
The quilts are approximately 50-72 inches long, and they can cover a twin-sized bed or be used as lap blankets for warriors in wheelchairs.
Col. Yolanda Ruiz-Isales, the deputy commander of nursing at Winn Army Community Hospital, spoke on behalf of hospital commander Col. Paul Cordts and thanked the guild for its selfless service.
“I hope that these quilts will inspire our soldiers and lift their spirits,” Ruiz-Isales said.
Lt. Col. William C. Reitemeyer, the commander of the Warrior Transition Battalion, assisted guild members in presenting red, white and blue quilts to 10 WTU soldiers.
More than 60 quilts will be donated to other soldiers throughout the battalion in the coming days.
Spc. Joseph Molnar of WTU’s B Company received his quilt at the ceremony. “I feel honored to receive the quilt,” Molnar said. “The quilt represents love and warmth.”
Stars & Stripes Quilt Guild serves Bryan, Bulloch, Liberty and Long counties. Members meet the first Tuesday of each month at the Hazel B. Carter Senior Center and the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at Cross Screen Printing in Hinesville. Stars & Stripes will continue to provide quilts for the soldiers of the WTU.
To learn more about Quilts of Valor, go to www.QOVF.org. To join the local guild, email SASQG@yahoo.com.