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Soldiers wives create quilts for wounded Sgt. Jessica Kuhn

The Fort Bragg Quilts of Valor group creates quilts to hand out to wounded Soldiers at their unit's headquarters building, Feb. 22. "The quilt is a piece of home," said Gullixson. "We try to put something patriotic in every quilt so that the Soldier is reminded that we care and appreciate their sacrifice."

Wives of paratroopers from the 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, meet once a month in a combined effort with a national foundation, Quilts of Valor, to make quilts for the wounded Soldiers from their unit.

The buzzing sound of sewing machines chomping their way through fabric fills the air as the wives of Soldiers gather together to stitch quilts of courage and strength to make a blanket of memories, which will cover wounded Soldiers for a lifetime.

Wives of paratroopers from the 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, meet once a month in a combined effort with a national foundation, Quilts of Valor, to make quilts for the wounded Soldiers from their unit.

"Soldier after Soldier has told me that they have received a purple heart, but it's every time that they look at the quilt that they choke up and remember how they earned it," said Rachel Gullixson, the coordinator of the Fort Bragg QOV group.

"The mission of the QOV Foundation is to cover all wounded and injured service members and veterans from the War on Terror, whether physical and/or psychological wounds, with wartime quilts called Quilts of Valor," according to the QOV website.

Since the start of the QOV Fort Bragg group last December, the team has produced a steady three to four quilts each month, Gullixson explained.

"No one person makes a quilt," Gullixson said. "We are like the Army - a team that works together to build something amazing."

Of course, it isn't easy having more than one person work on the same quilt without some sort of strategy.

The trick these women use is called strip quilting, where each individual is assigned a kit. The kit contains 15 squares of material along with detailed instructions on which squares to sew together. After each woman is done sewing together their kit, they piece all the strips together to form what they call a "mystery quilt", Gullixson explained.

"A quilt is a lot of pieces put together," said Pam Wawrzyniak, a member of the QOV Fort Bragg group. "All the pieces are put together to make one complete product all of it with team building and cohesion."

In most instances, the women have no idea of how the finished "mystery quilt" is going to look before seeing it upon completion.

Besides giving the quilts to the wounded Soldiers, each quilt is accompanied with a journal from the women involved in its creation.

"The journal explains what the quilt stands for to the women, and also what it meant to them to make the quilt for someone who was willing to fight for their freedom," Gullixson said.

In addition to the journal, each quilt is made with its very own special keepsake so it is unique and different from any other.

"Each quilt that is made has a unique attribute," Gullixson explained. "For example, one quilt uses material from a maroon airborne beret, while one has material with the pledge of allegiance on it."

However, the QOV group isn't just helping out the wounded Soldiers receiving the quilts, but also the women involved in the group.

"This group isn't just for the Soldiers, it's also for the wives," Gullixson said. "A lot of the time, you will have brand new wives to the area, some young, and some foreign. This group is a way for woman to meet and build a support group for when their husband deploys."

Also, the quilting gives an opportunity to family members who might not be in the Fort Bragg area to get involved.

"Quilting is one thing that grandparents, wives and spouses all can do to help their Soldiers, or fellow Soldiers, from a distance, either by developing their own group for Quilt of Valor, or just cutting up squares of fabric and sending them," Wawrzyniak explained.

"The quilts say that you are remembered, we thank you, and that you are loved," Gullixson said as tears formed in her eyes.


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Public Domain Mark
This work, Soldiers wives create quilts for wounded, by SGT Jessica Kuhn, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:03.16.2009

Date Posted:03.16.2009 10:15

Location:US

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