Monday, March 3, 2014

Another Great Quilt's of Valor Day

Any day that we have the opportunity to award a Quilt of Valor is a good day. But just like some steak dinners are good, others are great. This was a Saturday that falls into that great category.
We started Saturday at Station 10 in Hampton, VA. The son of one of our friends and fellow guild member, Diane B., works out of this Station. His service was with the US Army. His tours would have him serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.

The Ladder Truck, Squad and Engine had been moved out for daily cleaning and maintenance so we took up the Bay. Looking on were Joshua's coworkers, his mother, wife, brother and friends as I read the presentation message. We moved outside with the equipment to get a couple of photo's.

Me, Elaine, Joshua and his mom Diane.

Okay so I had a pretty good time. What kid could resist an offer to climb up on a Ladder Truck. Certainly not this one.

Just having too much fun. And it's like only 9:00 in the AM.

From here we would be headed back to the Hampton Convention Center and day three of the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Fest. As a result of this years event and being in the right place at the right time I got to meet two fellow Marines. As it turned out with Peter M. we had quite a few similarities in life. Marines, month and year of birth, Vietnam, same places, same time, different units. We both have a brother named David, we both are retired law enforcement, he NYPD while I spent a career with the CHP. While members of our respective departments we became involved in training and spent time at our Academies as instructors. And the unknown crossing of paths for these two 19 year old Marines, that would be three before the show was over, would cross again 48 years later. Pete and I got a pretty good laugh out of this crossing.
Pete, "Would you have guessed 30 years ago we would be involved in quilting?"
Me, "Not in a million years."
Pete was working the streets of New York and I the highways of Los Angeles 30 years ago and I can assure you quilting was not in our vocabulary.
Also roaming the halls of the Mid Atlantic Quilt Fest, the one managed by Pete's company, was Jose C. Jose had made the Marine Corps his career for 30 years, not only would he find himself in harm's way in Vietnam but Iraq as well. He was now working as a Technician for one of our local Quilt Shops and was doing duty in one of the many classrooms, diligently watching over the many quilters and machines to keep things running smoothly. That's what Marines do. It would be on the first day of the show that he, I and Pete would meet up. I had met Pete the day before. As it turned out Jose was also in Vietnam at the same time. I don't even want to try and figure out the odds of three Marines, serving in Vietnam at the same time in different units hooking up 48 years later at a Quilt Show. But it happened. So what is Marine suppose to do.
Improvise, adapt and overcome. Not to mention scramble to get two quilts ready for an impromptu and very surprising Award. With the help of Pete's brother David we were able to get Pete into Jose's classroom just prior to the classes lunch break. We had told Pete we were presenting a Quilt of Valor to Jose and it would really be good if he and his wife could make it by. They did. I would be lying through my teeth if I didn't say this was the absolutely hardest time I've had trying to keep it together for any Award. I made it, barely. It was capped off with Pete saying, "I'll cherish this forever." Go ahead...Ask Me Why I QOV.

Some of the onlookers. The lady kneeling in the center of the photo was the class instructor and key to all of this coming together. Her allowing us some of her class time goes in that priceless category.

To my left Peter M. and Jose C. Two Marines I've known a lifetime that I met over the last two days. If that doesn't make sense just chalk it up to it's a Marine thing.

I'm here to tell you this was special...I personally know the quilters that crafted these and I longarmed them both. It made it all the more special that I had something to do with the making of these quilts.
Are they all special. Yes each and everyone. Do some come along that pull just a little harder on the heart. Yes, yes they do.

Quilt till you wilt...we do.


  1. So glad to read this. Wish I could have come down the hall to be there, but it's hard to keep a surprise w too many people. Thank you.

  2. So glad you got to meet these two 'brothers' and share in their awards. How special!