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Quilts honor and comfort our wounded

PERU In a few days five area women will place four hand-made quilts in presentation cases and send them to the Quilts of Valor Foundation (QOV) to be given to combat wounded service members.

The Quilts of Valor Foundations work came to Jean Ryans attention at a downstate wedding when a relative mentioned that she had made three Quilts of Valor for wounded military service members. Ryan knew that most quilters have something in common. They love to work together and enjoy using their skills for the benefit of the community. She contacted her friend Joanne Kennedy, a very skilled quilter. Kennedy was equally enthusiastic and contacted her friends Karen Barber and Lucy St. Pierre.

The foundation requires that every quilt be labeled with a quilt name, the date, the quilters name(s), the recipients name and the time it took to make.

Joanne Kennedy has named hers Pieced for Peace. She explained, With all the controversy with the war with some people supporting it and some people not supporting it, we really have to support our troops. This is just one way.

Lucy St. Pierre and Linda Gebo named their quilt Friendship Star. Lucy said, Both our husbands are retired from the military. If its something thats going to help soldiers you want to do it.

Karen Barber, who named her quilt Freedom is not Free explained, I dont have any family members who have ever served in the military. I feel the military men and women put their lives on the line for all of us so were doing this for them. Its one way we can give back.

Jean Ryan named her quilt Stars and Stripes.

Thus far the Quilts of Valor Foundation has distributed over 10,500 quilts to service members at Walter Reed Medical Center and 70 other military medical centers around the world. Walter Reed Chaplain John Kallerson has personally distributed over 3,000. The hours our local ladies have expended will be appreciated. These words of thanks are typical of the sentiments expressed by recipients.

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