Wrapping local veterans in love

GRAFTON—The Christian Sisters Quilters held their Second Annual Quilts of Valor Presentation and honored local veterans for their service.

The presentation was held at First Grace Brethren Church located in Grafton, on Sunday.

Quilts of Valor is a non-profit foundation with the mission to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor. 

Pastor Michael Willis welcomed the guests and the club members to the special occasion.

The club members are Carolyn Bee, Bobbie Bolyard, Jo Carder, Linda Coole, Diane Cox, Patty Cox, Patty Ford, Camilla Gawthrop, Sheryl Isner, Elaine McGill, Mary Radcliff, Alice Rogers, Charlotte Sapp, Anna Jane Shriver, Jane Trickett and Becky Willis.

After he welcomed everyone to the presentation and the group sung “My Country, Tis of Thee,” it was a time of reflection.

“This is a time of reflection when we remember how freedom is not free, so many have sacrificed for us to be here today,” expressed Willis.

Willis shared that he would like to read an essay written by John Isner, a 17-year-old that won the Memorial Day essay contest in 1965.

He recited, “I’ve been many places. To many, I am a symbol of the enemy, but to many more I am the symbol of hope, peace and freedom. They call me old glory.”

“I am your flag, but I am a special flag. I have a special duty, I may not be as acclaimed as a flag that flies over our nation’s capital or the home of our president, but I wouldn’t trade my post of duty for all of the noted places in the land. You see, I watch over hollow ground at a National Cemetery in a small-town peaceful city of Grafton, WV,” he continued.

Willis read on, “As they walk past the rows of fallen men, they are proud, as I am proud. For I see below me men of all races, creeds and origins, and I say, you are honored, Old Glory, to be in Grafton.”

Isner’s essay touched on the pride of the flag to fly above the graves of fallen soldiers. He, speaking for the flag, sheared that their lives would never be forgotten.

“Row upon row they sleep below me forget them not, and when at the setting sun, when the skies cast a redden glow, I like you, will remember that sunset of their lives was to let the sun rise to ours,” he finished.

Club member Trickett shared that the club was started in 2004, with the purpose of covering service members and veterans touched by war and honoring them for their sacrifices.

She reported that there are several guidelines that must be followed regarding size and fabric, but they have one very important guideline they follow to give the quilts to veterans in Taylor County.

“Two years ago, we decided we wanted to honor veterans in Taylor County,” she said. “We had a booth set up at the Taylor County Fair. Veterans had the opportunity to put their names in a drawing to win a quilt.”

This year’s Quilts of Valor Recipients were Specialist E5 Richard Bowman US Army, Specialist E5 Randel C. Jennings US Army, Captain William E. McProuty US Marine Corp, Master Sgt. E& Dennis Mitchell US Air Force, 2nd Class Boilerman Jimmie R. Riffle US Navy and T5 Woodbridge “Woody” Stout US Army.

Each recipient came forward and accepted their quilts from the members. The club members wrapped the quilt around the veterans and thanked them for their service.

The recipients thanked the members for their gifts and told them words cannot express how much it means to them.

In addition to the quilts, the recipients also received a plaque and pillow case to store their quilts in.

Also, a representative from Senator Joe Manchin’s office was present at the event and told the recipients that the senator wanted to thank them for their service and sacrifices made for the country.

The representative read the letter aloud to the recipients and presented them with a copy to keep.

© 2019-Mountain Statesman