Saskatchewan

Quilts bring warmth to members of the armed forces

It's a warm and fuzzy way to give veterans and members of the Canadian Armed Forces, a warm fuzzy feeling.

Almost 6,300 quilts of valour have been handmade

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      It's a warm and fuzzy way to give veterans and members of the Canadian Armed Forces, a warm fuzzy feeling. 

      In 2006, an Edmonton quilter presented quilts to three injured members of the Canadian Armed Forces, who were in hospital.

      Word got out – and since then hundreds of crafty Canadians have been making quilts for veterans and current members of the armed forces.   

      The program quickly took off. In 2009, Quilts of Valour (QOV) got its start as a national program. 

      There are representatives in nearly every province, including Saskatchewan.

      Mary Ewing is the president. She says that since the program started, they have given almost 6,300 quilts.

      "You present a quilt to this 6'4" man and he's speechless and sometimes their eyes water up and they don't know what to say. And most men will say they have never been thanked," said Ewing.

      "This is the first time they have ever been thanked for their service."

      Recipients have to be nominated. And there are more requests annually than quilts made most years. Each quilt is given in a formal presentation with family members present, if possible.

      Shannon McGilvery of Maidstone, Sask. has been involved in the QOV program for a year now. 

      We so appreciate everything they have done. I don't have the bravery or the courage to do what they did.- Shannon McGilvery

      She makes or takes quilts that are donated, and then drives all over the province to present a handmade quilt to a veteran from Saskatchewan. 

      Her husband served in the armed forces with the Royal Canadian Regiment. He was an infantryman and did a couple of overseas tours in Bosnia. He's retired now, and received a quilt last year. 

      McGilvery says being able to present these quilts to veterans is a pleasure. 

      "We so appreciate everything they have done. I don't have the bravery or the courage to do what they did," McGilvery said. "I wouldn't make it through basic training, so this is my way of giving back to our Canadian Armed Forces."

      People who are interested in making a quilt, nominating a member of the armed forces, or donating money can visit the Quilts of Valour website.

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