Blue Star mom Catherine Roberts started the Quilts of Valor Foundation (QOVF) in 2003 in her home in Seaford, Delaware. Inspired by her son Nathaniel, who had just completed a year-long deployment to Iraq, she wanted to make sure that returning troops were welcomed home with love and gratitude. She viewed the quilt as a tangible token of appreciation that says, "Thank you for your service, sacrifice and valor."
Her idea of linking quilt top makers with machine quilters caught on and, since then, returning troops and others touched by the war have been given the colorful quilts that, as the QOVF brochure says, are "stitched with love, prayers and healing thoughts." As of this date, more than 144,300 Quilts of Valor have been awarded.
Al Lind, who was held as a prisoner of war for two years during World War II, became a dedicated maker of Quilts of Valor in 2007 and, by the time of his death in 2010, he had pieced more than 450 Quilts of Valor to be awarded to warriors who, like him, had experienced the wounds of war.
For Liz Barrett of Sea Isle City, NJ, and Ginny Cooper of nearby Ocean View, members of the South Jersey Quilts of Valor Chapter, their work on behalf of the foundation is "our way of offering a welcome home to all veterans touched by war. We focus on thanking veterans from previous wars, especially those who served in Vietnam, who didn't get a welcome in any shape or form when they returned home."
There are about 30 members of the South Jersey Quilts of Valor Chapter, who come from Pennsylvania; Delaware; Glassboro, Woodbury and from throughout Cape May and Atlantic Counties in New Jersey.
Among those who met September 9 at the Cape May Ferry Building to work on their quilts are the following pictured above: standing (left to right) Eileen Sackin, Ann Carroll, Susan Collins, Lori Fernandi, Nancy Thomson, Sandee Wright, Ronnie Sauerbrey, Shawn Cadwell, Flora Carlberg, Candy Moleff, Ginny Cooper, Denise Regensburg, Kathy Tweed, and RuthAnn Bosworth. Seated back row (l-r) Geri Devlin, June McCauley, Fran Gilrey, Joan Adams, Joey Goodman, Maggie Crisman and Mary Wendorf. Seated front row (l-r) Liz Barrett, Barbara Keefer, Kathy Demara and Anne Lovell.