Originally published in The Weekly Packet, July 25, 2019
Veterans wrapped in quilts of comfort
Brooksville vets presented with Quilts of Valor
Vietnam War Army veteran John Harvey Kimball receives a quilt during the Quilts of Valor presentation on July 20.
by Monique Labbe
To some people, a quilt is just a quilt. For the 15 Brooksville veterans who received one during the Quilts of Valor presentation on July 20, it was a symbol of comfort and home from the Brooksville Bicentennial Quilters.
It was also a special moment for the members of the Brooksville Bicentennial Quilters, who have been working on the quilts for several months. Andrea Snow is one of those quilters, and she was very emotional about what it means to her to give these blankets to veterans.
“When we did this the first time around [in 2017], I had my father-in-law, my husband, and my son all as veterans, so that was a very special moment to recognize them,” she said. “I picture them, out there fighting for us, wrapped up in a blanket and that sounds like such a little thing but it’s a huge comfort. It’s nice to give them this back home, even years later.”
The Quilts of Valor presentations started in Brooksville in 2017. The program is a much larger national one, which started 15 years ago, when the mother of a soldier had a dream about her son being in battle, wrapped up in a blanket far from home, according to Donna Brookings, who is head of the Maine chapter of the Quilts of Valor Foundation. Since then, 224,000 quilts have been given out to date. In Maine, just about 150 will be presented this year.
Carol Aberizk, another member of the Brooksville Bicentennial Quilters, said that she loves to quilt, and to be able to do it for this cause is something that brings her “a lot of joy.”
“There are only so many children, grandchildren, you can make quilts for, and you want to make something special for someone who will use it,” said Snow. “We know that these won’t end up in a box somewhere, and that they’ll be used, and that makes me happy.”
This year, veterans from the Air Force, Army, Army National Guard, Marine Corps and the Navy were all recognized with a quilt. The musical trio of Bobby Cleveland, Bill Schubeck and Mira Schubeck were on hand to play the songs of each branch of the military, as well as other patriotic offerings. Refreshments were offered after the ceremony, which gave the veterans time to talk with family and friends and show off their new quilts.
“We hope that other towns will do this in the future,” said Aberizk. “We have representatives here from Blue Hill and Castine today that are thinking about doing it in their town. That is our wish.”