News: DA civilian, Army officer gives back to the community one stitch at a time
Story by Staff Sgt. Alexander Burnett
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – As a Department of the Army civilian, she serves her country as a member of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s transformation section. As an officer, she serves the Army as a lieutenant colonel in the 7th Civil Support Command. Through her passion, she serves the community as a member of a very unique guild.
Lt. Col. Margaret R. Fierst, the 21st TSC transformation section branch chief and a native of Rochester, Minn., is a member of the Rheinland-Pfalz Quilt Guild and uses the guild as a way to give back to the Kaiserslautern Military Community.
The Rheinland-Pfalz Quilt Guild has been a part of the Kaiserslautern community for over 30 years. In that time, they have seen members from England, The Netherlands, Germany and the U.S. Since the attacks of 9/11, the guild decided to show their appreciation for soldiers and their families in a unique way.
“For a while now we have been donating quilts to Wounded Warriors,” Fierst said. “The members of the guild will gather materials and put these quilts together for our wounded soldiers.”
Fierst and the guild also give back to the medical community at Landstuhl as often as possible. Newborn babies who are born early or with complications are sent to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. These babies are kept in incubators, under very low light in the hospital, said Anne Marie Smith, a member of the Rheinland-Pfalz Quilt Guild.
The guild decided that a great way to brighten the hospital wing and provide these babies with a life-long keepsake was to donate quilts. These brightly colored quilts cover the incubators to keep light out and the babies take them home when they leave, Smith said.
“Donating these quilts is a very important priority for the entire guild,” Fierst said. “We try to donate them as often as we can and we get very positive feedback from the families and the hospital staff. One of the nurses recently told us that the quilts really brighten up what could be considered a very dark room.”
Fierst says that quilting is her passion and feels it is wonderful to be a part of a group that uses quilting in such a positive way. Other members of the guild feel that Fierst is a valued member of the group.
“Peggy (Fierst) is a wonderful member of the guild and is our publicity officer,” Frieda Chevalier, the president of the Rheinland-Pfalz Quilt Guild and a native of Utrecht, The Netherlands. “She tries to bring her and our passion to everyone in the community. So many people do not know what we do, she is trying to tell them and she is succeeding.”
Fierst and the rest of the Rheinland-Pfalz Quilt Guild invite anyone in the KMC who wants to learn how to quilt to come join them. They will host a membership drive at the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center on Ramstein Airbase March 22.
“I love quilting and so do the other guild members,” Fierst says. “It is our passion and a form of therapy, quilt therapy. It is definitely something I consider contributes to my resiliency. If you want to be a part of a great organization, come on over.”