CRAWFORD COUNTY - Fourteen veterans were honored on Sunday at the Crawford County Fair by the organization ‘Quilts of Valor.’ The ceremony was organized by Sue Lynch of Pickett Fence Patriotic Piecers in Prairie du Chien. This is the local chapter of the nationwide organization.
Those veterans are Charles Berger, Bob Chambers, Stephanie Ronnefeldt, Chad Smethurst, Dave Hawkinson, Roger Sime, Gary Walker, David Swasko, Deanna Saucke, Greg Saucke, Jerry Droessler, Mike McCormick, John Paulson and Ron Haydn (quilt accepted by his wife).
Four students worked with Lynch and other adult volunteers to create the quilts. Those students are Gareth Sime, Gracie Sime, Riley Cook, and Grant Sime. Grant Sime’s quilt, awarded to Gays Mills veteran Mike McCormick, earned a blue ribbon and ‘best in class’ award at the fair.
“All of the fabric used to make the quilts was supplied by me or by donations,” Lynch explained. “Locally, our organization is always willing to accept donations to be able to continue to honor our veterans.”
Donations to the Pickett Fence Patriotic Piecers can be made online by going to the Quilts of Valor Foundation website, and clicking on the ‘donate’ button. To donate to the local chapter, search for ‘Group 54054.’
According to the organization’s website, the Quilts of Valor Foundation began in 2003 with a dream, literally a dream. Founder Catherine Roberts’ son Nat was deployed in Iraq. According to Catherine:
“The dream was as vivid as real life. I saw a young man sitting on the side of his bed in the middle of the night, hunched over. The permeating feeling was one of utter despair. I could see his war demons clustered around, dragging him down into an emotional gutter. Then, as if viewing a movie, I saw him in the next scene wrapped in a quilt. His whole demeanor changed from one of despair to one of hope and well-being. The quilt had made this dramatic change. The message of my dream was: Quilts = Healing.”
Lynch said that the quilts are awarded to veterans that were injured or touched by war. She said that offering them the quilt is a way to thank them for their service and sacrifice.
“The tops of the quilts represent community, love, gratitude, and sometimes tears,” Lynch said. “The batting in the middle represents warmth and hope, and is intended to bring peace and comfort. The backing of the quilt represents strength of the individual, the community and the nation.”Lynch said that the effort had grown nationally from small beginnings to over 278,847 quilts in 2021. In this year alone, the organization has provided 13,587 quilts to veterans across the nation.