Twenty local veterans, two who served in World War II and the remainder in the Vietnam War, received handmade Quilts of Valor Thursday at the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center auditorium.
The quilts were made by members of the Eugene chapter of the Quilts of Honor Foundation and presented in a ceremony led by the organization’s West/Central Oregon Coordinator Bobbie Sanford of Eugene. The men were shown their quilts, decorated in bright reds and blues and patriotic themes, and then wrapped in them.
Among the recipients were WWII veterans Arnold Ebert and Blake Duncan and Douglas County Veterans Forum President and Vietnam War veteran Larry Hill.
Ebert’s gift was particularly poignant, coming on the anniversary of the D-Day invasion. He fought during that invasion and the Battle of the Bulge, and was the recipient of numerous awards including the Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts and the French Legion d’Honneur.
“I think it’s wonderful, from the beautiful bunch of people that made it,” Ebert told The News-Review after receiving his quilt.
Ebert said Thursday the quilt would have really been useful during the war, since he spent some of it fighting in the snow.
“It was really an honor,” said quilt recipient and Vietnam Veteran Donald Feliciano after Thursday’s event. He said it was hard to accept the quilt, because he was thinking of his fellow soldiers who never made it home. He said it was easier to think he was accepting the quilt on behalf of his lost brothers and sisters.
“Then I could accept the quilt. I feel they deserve it more than I do,” he said.
Sanford said the Quilts of Valor program was started in 2003 by Catherine Roberts of Seaford, Delaware, who had a dream while her son was serving in Iraq.
Roberts dreamed of a young man in despair, sitting on the side of his bed in the middle of the night. Then in the dream’s next scene she saw him wrapped in a quilt and feeling hope and well-being.
Sanford said she joined in 2005 because her own son was serving in Iraq. Quilts, Sanford said, are healing and the quilters put lots of love into their work.
“Every stitch, and there’s no way on God’s green earth that you could ever count how many stitches are in your quilt, times that by 1,000 hugs, 1,000 moments of love, 100 million moments of honor ... this is why we do this,” she said.