Quilts donated to local veterans as ‘thank you’ for service

Dale Shupe receives his Quilt of Valor from Donna Kiger. Courtesy
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As a symbol of comfort and appreciation of their sacrifice for their country, local veterans were wrapped in handmade Quilts of Valor Sunday.

Donna Kiger and George Allard of the Quilts of Valor Foundation presented quilts to 10 members of Vietnam Veterans of America, each of which was personalized for each of the receiving veterans.

“Each stitch has been lovingly sewn to demonstrate the high esteem in which you are held,” Kiger said as she presented a quilt to U.S. Navy veteran Dale Shupe, then wrapping it around him to thank him for his service.

Robert Ventrice receives his Quilt of Valor. Courtesy

Kiger belongs to the Upland QOV group, which is the closest to the Santa Clarita Valley, but as a Stevenson Ranch resident, is often working to find veterans in the local area to donate to.

“A quilt is such a comforting thing to put around your shoulders or curl up under on the couch … and it’s just a tangible thing that says, ‘Somebody was thinking about me and cares about me,’” Kiger added. “It is truly an honor and a privilege to do this for our veterans.”

Quilts of Valor, or QOVs, are made and donated by various volunteers who often team up to complete one part of the quilt before passing it on to another to add to, according to Kiger.

Jerry Blumenfeld is wrapped in his Quilt of Valor. Courtesy

“The making of a QOV is truly a labor of love and respect,” Kiger said. “It can often take 20 or more hours to complete a QOV.”

QOVs are each then labeled with a veteran’s name to designate it as official, before being placed in a patchwork pillowcase for storage.

“The quilt is just beautifully done, and a lot of time and effort has gone into it,” said Robert Ventrice, second vice president of the VVA. “It’s really neat to get that appreciation.”

Harry Wilson receives his Quilt of Valor from Donna Kiger. Courtesy

For Ventrice, who as a Vietnam veteran was not always thanked for his service, the little bit of appreciation goes a long way.

“Times have so changed since when I got out of the service, and now people go out of their way to say thank you for your service,” he added. “It’s very much appreciated.”

More than 283,700 quilts have been distributed to veterans across the nation as of Oct. 2, with QOV members continuing to work toward donating to even more veterans.

Melvin Coward receives his Quilt of Valor from Donna Kiger. Courtesy

“They’re really beautiful, really, really nicely done, and of course, they’re all (made of) different … patriotic materials,” added Sharon Ventrice of the Associate Vietnam Veterans of America. “It’s very, very special.”

Vietnam Veterans of America meets every third Sunday at VFW Auxiliary 6885, located at 16208 Sierra Highway in Canyon Country. The Quilts of Valor Foundation is scheduled to table at the Veterans Day ceremony at the Veterans Historical Plaza on Nov. 11. To nominate someone to receive a quilt or to volunteer, visit qovf.org or email Donna Kiger at [email protected] 

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