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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Confusion is abounding!!!

Recently I read an entry on Facebook indicating a $10 fee was being charged under the new Membership Requirements of the Quilts of Valor® Foundation and that monies collected did not have to go to National and all could be kept at the local level. Not based on what I have read. So, as usual I expressed my opinion based on what I have heard and what I have read. If there are any inaccuracies I take full responsibility and will make any retractions required.

My response:
"Hopefully this will get straightened out but the confusion is running rampant. If you choose to join as an individual it is $20 annually. A Group is $30 plus $5 for each individual that chooses to join said group, annually. Two person groups with a lot of volunteers will become the norm. Groups are the only 'members' that can raise funds under the registered trademarks of Quilts of Valor, QOV and Quilt of Valor. The logo is not registered. 

ALL, every last penny, raised by Groups WILL be submitted to the National Treasurer for accounting purposes. The Group Leader will be responsible and accountable for this. Once it has been reported the designated Group via the listed Group Leader will have access to those funds, ALL, 100% of the monies raised by submitting receipts for "approved" purchases relating to QOVF activities as long as the receipt is the original and dated within the last year will be honored and the funds returned to the Group. Receipts dated more than a year old at time of submission will not be honored. There is an exception for other 501's which I don't understand and cannot explain.

There is no need for an individual to pay the $20 fee.

The Longarm Coordinators, Jim and Joan (info on have set up two "National Groups." A Longarm Group and a Toppers Group. Anyone that does not have a Group in their area to join can join the appropriate National Group. No one, absolutely no one has to give up their volunteer status with the Quilts of Valor. You can continue to sew and contribute to this most meaningful Mission as you have in the past, a volunteer.

It must be understood that under this membership model that will become active January 1, 2015 only "members" will be eligible for any and all benefits that may become available to QOVF. Volunteers will be excluded from them and certain sections of the web site. And only "members" will be able to request the services of a QOVF Longarmer and as stated ONLY Member Groups will be eligible for fund raising activities and reimbursement. This does not negate anyone's ability to hang on to your receipts and document your expenses for tax purposes. Consult the appropriate source for tax information.

You are going to find that regardless of your personal status someone will be there to assist you with your quilt. It will get completed and it will get awarded. It has been going on for over a is about the Mission and the recipient…always has been always will be.

The IRS requirements have always been met and the shared expenses and other bills have always been paid. Let's hope that continues as well. Personally I find this membership excursion to be a distraction from what is important, the recipient and the volunteer. But that is just my opinion...I know there are others. That's all it is, my opinion. I will continue and until the situation changes will be a part of a two person group, doing everything I can, for as long as I can be productive to support the Mission, the recipients and those that got us here...the QOVF Volunteer. For those that wear that badge of honor I thank you, as a Marine, a combat veteran, a Vietnam Veteran and a longarmer that is graced with some very excellent company. And as a QOV recipient...I don't have the words."

Respectfully, Les Page

Quilt till you wilt...we do.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Then on to New Jersey...

The following week end had us on the road north once again. This time to visit four who are really near and dear, what's his name and his lovely wife Liz and our two grand children Selena and Zane. It was tough duty but our Marine Corps son, who will retire June 1, 2015 with over 24 years of service and Liz were headed to Atlantic City for his last Marine Corps Ball as an active duty Marine. I can't count how many Balls he has been the MC for but I can assure you he is going to be missed.

So Elaine says to our grand daughter Selena, 15..."What are we gonna do with two four year olds?" Of course I'm looking around for the other four year old besides my grandson. Well it shocked me as well!

So it's off to the Slot Car track.

Here we are...Selena is monitoring our sportsmanship. Yeah right...Zane's screaming "I'm winning Gramps better catch up!"

He's still screaming something about "You've been lapped." 

After awhile we had some others join us on the track. The testosterone was hot and heavy.

Then it was off to Build A Bear. Zane decided on Leonardo. Turns out he is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan as well as a Marvel Super Hero fan and a Slot Car aficionado. 
Here were are working on Leonardo's Birth Certificate. I lost count how many Build A Bear characters Selena has...we weren't in the store for five minutes when she's wanting to know if she can have one as well. Of course I put my foot down and said she had to was Zane's turn. That was before we hit Hot Topic. I should have known. I think I was set up.

This Birth Certificate thing was quite an ordeal...We had to call in Grammy to get it finished.

This was pretty typical...two guys walking the stores looking for the women.
"Where do you think they are Gramps?"
"Zane if I knew I would most certainly share it with you an Leonardo."

But as long as the days were and as far away from home as we were our new travelling accessory was there to comfort and keep us warm and safe as the day came to an end. I slept like a baby. Well I'm only four, remember. 

Quilt till you wilt...we do...

New York, New York!!!

We want to start by saying that as a group of volunteers sewing for Quilts of Valor, being the epitome of unselfishness, kindness, friendship and exemplifying what Quilts of Valor is and has grown into over the last decade because of volunteers like this. Southern Tier Quilts of Valor exemplifies what it means to Serve Your Nation...Quilt.

It is a one day "Marathon" and in that one day the final tally accomplished by the 70 'volunteers' was nothing less than spectacular. Fifty-seven completed tops, put with backs and binding and packaged to be sent to longarmers. Twenty-two tops pieced needing only borders to bring them to acceptable dimensions which will then be packaged with backs and binding and sent to longarmers.

One day, twelve hours, 70 people. Supported of course with a little pizza, pasta, a doughnut here, a cookie there, several gallons of coffee and maybe a little chocolate.

They say a picture is worth a thousand's a couple of thousand words...or more!!!

QOV Volunteers...Wall to Wall...literally.

Door betcha


Snacks...well it's a sew day isn't it. Both lunch and dinner were catered...of course. Not to mention chocolate throughout the day.

Did I mention quilters?

Backs and bindings ready to be paired up with tops. The piecer could pick the back as soon as the top was done. 

Elaine even got in on the action.

Not to mention going to the Corning Museum. Well I mean really we were in Corning, New York.

A special presentation from STQOV to Marriane Elliott for her work with STQOV and the Foundation. It was not a QOV...but be assured it touched her heart. She was awarded her QOV in Tennessee.

There were two Awards of Quilts of Valor. Elaine and I had the honor of presenting Michael's

His Mom (the piecer) and his Grandfather were present. I also had the distinct honor of longarming his quilt.

And yes, yours truly was awarded a Quilt of Valor. It was presented by Marianne and Bill Elliott. With all of the volunteers taking a few minutes away from their sewing to share it with me as Elaine stood by my side as she has through it all for the last 47+ years. You couldn't script a better place, with better people, on a better day to be thanked. I'm not unlike any other recipient. To be thanked in a way that so deeply touches us for doing what we all cherish so much, defending the freedoms of this great Nation. We humbly accept with our deepest of gratitude, gracious for the recognition for what we consider to be our scared duty and just doing our jobs. I wish the piecer, Sharon Ledbetter could have been present...but I'm saving up a big 'quilty hug' to be delivered at a later date.

I did mention quilt tops didn't I?

What a day...what a group...what a pleasure and honor to be included. STQOV ROCKS!!!

Quilt till you wilt...we do...
And so does Southern Tier Quilts of Valor.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Busy Week...

To say the last week to ten days is like the tip of the iceberg is like well, the tip of the iceberg. Getting ready for a trip to New York and one to New Jersey, with the holidays rapidly approaching has made for some busy time.

Coming off the longarm some Quilts of Valor, a T-Shirt or two and Elaine's raffle quilt for an upcoming QOV Booth at the end of the month has kept us on our toes.

 This was a two sided T-Shirt quilt. The quilter is the mother of a 26 year Navy Veteran daughter. The top was all T's

I used the Support Ribbon pattern which worked out well.

The back was a combination of T's and some fill panels.

Next came a colorful quilt that just reeked with talent, color and a whole bunch of seams. Oh did I mention it was Elaine's.

A few Quilts of Valor were mixed in and sent out for binding.

This one above is the results of handing over a bag full of scrapes and some peculiar shaped blocks to one of the quilters that over the last several years has produced in the neighborhood of 40 quilts for QOV. Her talents can't be described, her dedication is endless. 

Below was also crafted by a mom, in this case for her son. He is a huge Otter fan, if you couldn't tell. Only had about a zillion little squares.

Another T Shirt quilt. The T's reflect a love for the Blues. It was also a 100" wide. I used a musical pattern with a Clef, Bar and Notes...not to mention while under the influence of Johnny Lang and Kenny Wayne Shepard.

The last one off the longarm was a raffle quilt Elaine made that we will raffle off at the Christmas Craft Market where space again has been donated by the promoters for a QOVF Booth. This will be our second year with a QOV presence. Elaine has been going for several more years with some of her craft wares with the group Seven Cities Crafter's.

 Used a heart and swirls pattern to tie the X's and O's all together. The symbolism is in the lone "hug" crossing the hugs and kisses boundaries. The lone X includes the material from the X's and O's. The quilt is named Love Has No Boundaries

We had the privilege of being invited back to the Chesapeake Newcomers Society and presented five to those that were nominated by members of the Society to receive QOV's. This was our second year and more than likely not our last.

Left to right: Elaine, SSgt Lucas S., Retired Chief Petty Officer Robert H., yours truly, Retired Lt. Commander Daniel R., Ann H. (the quilter previously mentioned that has been a huge contributor to QOV, our guild and now Not Forgotten QOV), Retired Maj. General Richard S. and Sgt LaQuita R. Combined they represent service from Vietnam, Bosnia, Kuwait, Qatar, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. 

This was Ann's first opportunity to view an awarding of a QOV and her first opportunity to give a "quilty hug." I can assure you it won't be her last and she enjoyed it immensely...all five of them. Yes it was a "tissue alert" for all involved. 

Although we were not in attendance the quilts were from Not Forgotten QOV and shipped to the presenter. He is the Pastor from the recipients church. This all started when Wayne H. requested via a QOV for himself. During the conversation with Elaine it was learned he had a regular breadfast meeting with five other veterans. Well don't give Elaine an inch...she'll take a mile. The Pastor awarded all six their quilts last week. Wayne has requested to be a presenter for QOV's in his area. We'll most certainly oblige. 

So we'll be heading to New York for a QOV Marathon...and then a quick return home and then New Jersey bound to see the grand kids. We might even say a howdy to our son. But he knows why we're coming. 

Quilt till you wilt...we do. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Camp LeJeune's Beirut Memorial & More.

I had the privilege of riding last Saturday with the Proud Few Motorcycle Club as a guest. Quite the honor I might add. We met up here in Virginia Beach and headed south with our final destination being the Beirut Memorial, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, NC. First stop was to meet up with the main body at the residence of one of the Proud Few members. We then assembled and rode to the Memorial. There was quite a contrast between the rumble of steel as we rode to the site and the solemn silence once on site and in the presence of not only the Beirut Memorial but also the Vietnam Memorial...being one of the only Vietnam Veterans its draw was as magnetic as was the purpose of the ride.

It doesn't take very long for the inscription that pays the silent tribute to those fallen at the hands of ignorance and cowardice consumes everything that we stand and defend at all costs envelopes your whole being, your whole existence. It taps into the raw and deeply buried feelings that we sometimes have to draw upon to stand the line of defense and not confuse it with vengeance and revenge. The line that separates the cowards that committed this brutal attack against those who were serving in peace to protect our citizens as they served upon foreign soil at our Embassy. 

There were 241 casualties as a result of the barracks bombing, 220 were Marines and the majority of them were stationed at Camp Lejeune with Battalion 1/8.

There were several monuments on site as well...some in reference to this Memorial and like the one below honoring those that may not stand in harm's way but have paid a sacrifice that goes beyond and what only they can relate. It is not only those that stand in harm's way that have been touched by war. Not even those of us that have stood on foreign soils defending what our country has chosen to take a stand on can relate.

As mentioned there was also a Vietnam Memorial...and one of the most impressive outside of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in our Nations Capital. But it did afford me the opportunity to visit a few friends and again share with them my gratitude for briefly being part of my life through a bond that will never be broken. 

Gaylen Ray Gallion...

George "Spike" Allen Guy (picture had too much glare) and Gordon Lee Page...

Sadly not the only names that I know that are etched in the Monuments and Memorials that pay a tribute to the loss of those that stood to defend their land and beliefs. I served with Galyen, I grew up with Spike and that which is shared with Air Force Col. Gordon Page is one of those things that is really hard to explain. He was shot down over North Vietnam and listed as MIA (Missing in Action) on the day I arrived in Vietnam in 1966. In the early 70's his remains would be identified and status changed to KIA (Killed in Action) His wife and one of her son's would move to the town Elaine and I lived in until I was hired by the California Highway Patrol in the late 70's. I have worn and still do on occasion his bracelet. The bracelet was given to me by another Vietnam Veteran. Back then you couldn't specify the individual who would be on the bracelet, you ordered, they sent one. My  friend Bill had ordered two, one for himself and one for me. This was one of the two that he received. You have no idea the energy that was drained from my soul when I saw the date listed as the Action Date for the event that led to his death.  I was given the bracelet in 1982 and can still, to this day remember the emotion that cast a cold, musty shadow over my being when it was handed to me. And the courage and pride in rendered that same soul knowing we shared values and commitments that only a few share. For we are a few regardless of the service branch. 

The Memorial, as stated, was quite impressive. The glass panels, etched with the names of those fallen surrounded a the fountain enhanced shrine that honored them. It was all announced by the Monument Wall with the service medallions attached sitting before the flags of each branch. 

I guess the hardest part of the day was riding past the huge banner announcing a local Quilt Show. I didn't have the opportunity to stop. I couldn't figure out how to persuade 35 other Marines, on a mission to the Memorial as the 30th Anniversary of the Beirut Bombing approaches, bearing names like Rage, Mule, Big Whiskey, Goose and One Shot to take a detour to the display of quilts and quilt wares. I'm not sure they are going to pay much attention to one who carries "Lessie Poo" as a road name very seriously. It's another story. 

Quilt till you wilt...we do...