PILOT MOUNTAIN — Emotions were overwhelming for some as Surry Quilters Guild presented 31 veterans with a Quilt of Valor during a gathering Nov. 18.
Lt. Leslie E. Fleck Jr., began his service to the nation on Sept. 1, 1943 in the U.S. Naval Reserve. After attending Midshipman school in Chicago, Fleck was an ensign, a commissioned officer. His duty was to assemble a nucleus crew for a brand-new destroyer, the USS Mansfield, DD728 built in Bath, Maine.
Upon the acceptance of his quilt, Fleck was overwhelmed with emotions. Through the tears, he stated, “It’s gorgeous.”
“It was the best of times and the worst of times,” said Fleck as he reminisced in his speech. Jokingly addressing the women in the room, he said, “The reason we did it was because of you beautiful girls.”
Fleck’s daughter, Julie Corder, escorted her father to the front of the room to accept his quilt. As she told his story she said she felt “overwhelming pride” to have a father who served in World War II.
Quilts of Valor Foundation began in 2003, by Catherine Roberts, a mom who’s son was deployed in Iraq, according to Amy Askins. Roberts’ son often had vivid dreams from his time spent overseas, in Iraq, explained Askins. It was then in her own dream that Roberts made a quilt for her son, that changed his whole demeanor.
“To her, quilts equaled healing.” said Askins. The mission statement for the foundations purpose was, “to cover all those service members and veterans wounded physically or psychologically with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor,” according to the foundations website, www.qovf.org.
The Surry Quilters Guild began participating in the national service project five years ago. Since then, the members have made and awarded 87 Quilts of Valor.
Each quilt is pieced by guild members, and finalized with the action of longarm quilting, by Amy Askins, a member of the guild.
Askins’ son served several tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Askins stated after watching her father and son serve she felt a “patriotic calling” to participate in the Quilts of Valor Foundation. Askins has personally quilted more than 150 quilts for the foundation. “It’s our motherly way of supporting the veterans, to wrap them in a quilt.”
Teresa McCrary, assistant veterans service officer from the Veterans Services Administration, said, “It was an honor to be a part of something so big.” Upon speaking to one of the veterans, Larry Haynes, McCrary said, “he was elated to receive his quilt, just like so many others.”
McCrary was there to offer her contact information and spoke a little about what services her department offers.
Among those to receive a quilt was former county commissioner Jimmy Miller. Miller spoke briefly about how much the receiving of his quilt meant to him.
“It’s such a honor to be here with all you tonight, and to receive this recognition,” he said.
“All veterans deserve to be recognized,” said Dara Gillespie, guild member who organizes the Quilts of Valor presentation each year. “Every one of these folks have such a good heart.”
Reach Eva Winemiller at (336) 415-4739