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Utah quilters wrap veterans in comfort

By JOHN ZSIRAY | The Herald-Journal | Published: May 12, 2017

LOGAN, Utah (AP) — Three local quilting guilds banded together to wrap Utah veterans with new quilts thanking them for their service.

With a big smile and a few tears, Pam Loosle thanked nine vets — all of whom live at Cache Valley Assisted Living in Providence — who served in the Army, Navy, Air Force and National Guard.

In 2003, the Quilts of Valor organization was formed to honor members of the United States Military and "cover service members with healing and comfort" in the forms of handmade quilts, Loosle said.

The organization as a whole has presented over 158,000 quilts to members of the Armed Services, Loosle said.

Locally, three quilting guilds — Needles and Friends, Patchwork Friends and the Ties that Bind — banded together to provide colorful and patriotic "awards" that they hope will remind generations to come about the sacrifice a family member has made.

"It is an awesome thing to watch," Loosle said. "I don't know these nine people, but it is still emotional. These, along with all our veterans, are people who need comfort and healing that a quilt can bring."

During the presentation of the quilts, guild members wrapped the quilts gently around each serviceman, thanking them by name for their service and dedication to their country.

Many of the men, now into their 80s and 90s, became emotional as the honor was bestowed.

"It is amazing, and I can't believe they would go to all this effort for us," said Willis Burton, who served in the Air Corps and Infantry during World War II. "It is going to be great to have this. There are stars mostly on the quilt, which is very nice."
Craig Garn, a local farmer, shut down his tractor and came over to watch a quilt be presented to his father, Clive Garn, a Navy veteran from the Korean War.

"It is great that there are still people out there who are willing to honor our veterans for the sacrifices they have made for everyone else," Craig said. "It really is a good thing to see these men recognized and remembered."

Of the quilts presented, one in particular was emotional for all involved. On April 15, David Weeks passed away at the age of 96. Weeks served in the Army during WWII and reached the rank of sergeant major.

Weeks' niece, Kathryn Boyer, crafted a quilt for him that was presented a few weeks back before his passing, Loosle said. At the conclusion of the ceremony, her quilt built around a bald eagle inscribed with "Land of the Free" and "Home of the Brave" was presented.

Boyer said the quilt will be awarded to Weeks's son-in-law, Edward Lombard, who served in the Navy.

"No matter where or how long our service members have served, they need to be recognized," Loosle said. "We like to make beautiful quilts, and these guys deserve them."
 

Gale Grover, left, and Joleene Kooyman give a Quilt of Valor to Willis Burton, who served in World War II, at Cache Valley Assisted Living in Providence, Utah, April 26, 2017.
ELI LUCERO/THE HERALD JOURNAL VIA AP

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