Bonnie Hammond of Copperas Cove works on sewing together a quilt square that will be used in a quilt to be given to a veteran or service member who has been touched by war. Saturday was Sewing Day for Quilts of Valor, a national foundation that provides the quilts made by local volunteers.
Around a dozen volunteers gave of their time Saturday in Killeen to ultimately give to veterans or service members. The volunteers of the Quilters With a Heart group of Quilts of Valor created quilt squares that would be constructed into full quilts for veterans.
Laura Winckel, the group leader, said Saturday the act of creating a quilt is rewarding.
“A total stranger has taken their money (and) their time and made this beautiful quilt, and they don’t even know them,” she said.
The Quilts of Valor Foundation is a national organization that began in 2003 and with the work of volunteers like Winckel, they are given to service members or veterans who were touched by war, according to the foundation’s website.
Winckel said throughout the time she has volunteered to be part of creating quilts, she is thankful for the service of the veterans and service members who receive one.
The thankfulness, however, is reciprocated. Winckel explained that she sometimes receives letters from the recipients.
“It means everything,” she said. “They really appreciate it.”
The letters from service members and veterans also put things into perspective.
“Whenever I get frustrated, or I’m not getting donations — or not enough ... all I have to do is open up my scrapbook and I read the notes,” Winckel said.
Saturday marked National Sew Day, where member groups sew specifically for Quilts of Valor. Though the local group has met collectively only on National Sew Day in the past, Winckel said because of the volunteer efforts of Copperas Cove resident Bonnie Hammond, they will meet more often.
Hammond comes from a family rich with military tradition. Her father, all of her uncles, and all but one of her brothers served in the military.
Hammond said regardless whether a person was a veteran or not, war touches everyone in one way or another.
“It could be somebody that was — like myself — I was a veteran’s nurse for three, four years until they passed away,” she said. “Even though I worked in the hospital, I would go to his home two or three times a week and check on him as a friend.
“Also, I’ve spent a lot of time with my brother because he was in a wheelchair. It could be the physical therapist, because they work with these guys for years and they get attached.
“And then, if they pass away, like when my brother did, everybody — where he would go get his chemo — they all cried, because I went over to talk to them and tell them. But, it affects everybody.”
Hammond said she is relatively new to the group, but she has quilted — and given away most of her creations — since she was 5 years old.
Winckel said anyone can become a member of the group or offer donations. For more information, contact her at email@example.com or 254-681-8239.
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