By Wendy Holdren
Veterans at the Beckley VA Hospital Nursing Home Care Unit received some heartfelt gifts from a group of Mercer County quilters Monday.
A total of 50 quilts were given to the veterans, both as a Christmas present and a way of saying thank you.
“They have given so much to us,” Marie Bailey said.
“Some of them gave their life. Some in the nursing home are physically disabled and some suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. They think they have been forgotten by many, but this is our way to let them know they are not forgotten.”
Supporting veterans is a cause very near to her heart — her husband is a Vietnam veteran and her dad served in the Navy.
With encouragement from her husband, she started the quilting project.
“I made about three quilts, and then I came to the Sewing Gallery in Princeton to get some backing.”
She spoke with the owner of the Sewing Gallery, Sue Hardin, and told her about her project.
The two then spoke with a volunteer coordinator at the Beckley VA Hospital.
“She said in order to do a quilt distribution, we would need to have at least 50,” Bailey said. “Sue told me, ‘Girl, you can’t do that by yourself!’ and she was so right.”
Bailey and Hardin called for reinforcements and secured the sewing talents of 17 women.
Hardin offered the group discounts on the fabric and she even taught Bailey how to sew on her professional machine after her personal one broke.
All of the quilts will be made with the same dimensions, but with variations on a basic pattern. Bailey said each quilt costs about $110 to $125 to make, but local businesses and individuals have made donations to help their efforts.
Some of the quilters took the 50 quilts, along with gift bags, to the veterans.
“I believe in the vets and what they do for our country,” Hardin said. “Not only as a small business owner, but as a human being, we need to acknowledge what they’ve done for our county.”
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