Quilters honor local veterans with meaning sewn into their work


Martin Crawford and his daughter are delighted with their new Quilt of Valor.

Austin Rushnell

Crafting can be a fun and rewarding hobby. Quiltmakers, however, are special in the field of crafting in that they not only sew for the love of the craft, but also to give their treasured work away.

Some hand their quilts down to family members or loved ones, but a certain group in Brevard decided to join a national tradition of honoring veterans with their sewing skills.

On Aug. 22, quilt makers from the Quilts of Valor gathered at Quilts and Lace in Suntree to pay tribute to six local veterans, each with their own Quilt of Valor.

The Quilts of Valor Foundation is dedicated to supporting service members and veterans by bestowing handmade quilts upon them. Each recipient is nominated by family or friends to be selected by the Quilts
of Valor.

“A Quilt of Valor is not a charity quilt,” said Carmel Sowers, a representative of Quilts of Valor. “If you are a quilter, you know a quilt consists of three layers: the top of the quilt with the many colors, shapes and fabrics, represents the communities and the many individuals we are.

“The batting is the center of the quilt, its warmth,” Sowers continued. “It represents our hope that this quilt will bring warmth, comfort, peace
and healing to the individual who receives it.

“The backing is the strength that supports the layers,” Sowers said. “It represents the strength of the recipient, the support of his or her family, our community and our nation.

“Finally, it is put together with stitching. Each stitch that holds the layers together represents love, gratitude and sometimes the tears of the maker,” she concluded.

At the presentation event, six recipients, having been previously nominated, were chosen to receive a Quilt of Valor:

• Joe Rivera, who served from 1969 to 1971 in the Army, nominated by Debby Perez.

• Ronald Grey, who served from 1958 to 1979 in the Army, nominated by Cindy Post.

• Darrel Roberts, who served during Operation Desert Storm, nominated by Heather Roberts.

• Michelle Roberts, who served in the navy during the 1970s, also nominated by Heather Roberts.

• Martin Crawford, who is currently serving in the Air Force at Patrick Air Force Base, nominated by Diana Hensley.

“A lot of these guys served during Vietnam, and they didn’t get much of a welcome home,” said Dave Graham, founding member of the local Quilts of Valor. “These veterans, they sacrificed a lot, and a lot of them are just now getting welcomed home. It’s wonderful just to honor people for what they’re doing, and to give them that recognition (that they deserve). You give somebody a quilt, and it’s something that they can cherish; whenever they use it, they’re reminded again of the backing, support and love that we as a nation have (for them).”

For more information about the Quilts of Valor Foundation, go to  QOVF.org.