SOUTHINGTON – Volunteers wrapped a large, hand-sewn quilt around Army veteran Dana Brown at The Summit at Plantsville during a ceremony to honor those who’ve served in the military.
“I’ve never been treated like this in my life,” he said.
The Summit hosted the Quilts for Valor ceremony Friday, and a week earlier hosted volunteers who had helped prepare the gifts for veteran residents of the home.
As each intricate quilt was displayed, residents and visitors clapped and cheered. Quilters had created a host of designs and decorated the quilts with patriotic themes, flags, eagles, stars and geometric patterns.
Jane Dougherty, one of the state’s Quilts for Valor coordinators, read off a name of each veteran resident and volunteers wrapped them in their quilt.
“Quilts for Valor are not handed to a veteran. We will not ship you one. We will not sell you one. Quilts are wrapped around a veteran,” Doughterty said.
She and fellow coordinator Cindy Guendert helped do just that for many of the Summit’s veterans on Friday. Those included a maple leaf-decorated flag for one resident who was a veteran of the Canadian Air Force.
Barbara Blau, therapeutic recreation director at the Summit, said that every veteran there would receive a quilt.
“Due to the large number of veterans, some will receive their quilts in May,” she said.
After the presentation, Brown sat wrapped in his new quilt wearing a camouflage boonie cap with various Army and Vietnam veteran pins. He was a sergeant while serving in the Army.
Letters and proclamations were read from a host of state legislators and leaders. State Rep. Liz Linehan, a Democrat representing Southington, Cheshire and Wallingford, was present along with Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman.
Jerry Limmer, coordinator for Music on the Green, was the master of ceremonies for the event, which includes songs and poems.
Dougherty said Quilts of Valor started in 2003 when a quilter’s son was deployed to Iraq. Since then, Dougherty said volunteers have sewn and presented 170,000 quilts.
She said Friday’s ceremony was particularly meaningful because the volunteers who made the quilts were able to meet the recipient veterans.
“A lot of times the veteran never gets to meet the quilt-maker,” Dougherty said.
She said the Summit would have another sew day in April and likely again around this time next year to continue providing quilts to veterans.