FORT BLISS, Texas -- Members of the Paso Del Norte Quilt Guild
gathered at the Soldier and Family Assistance Center on Feb. 13,
2014 to present soldiers from the Warrior Transition Battalion with
The wounded soldiers browsed more than 35
free quilts, an array of cookies and an assortment of books.
Quilt pieces signed by children and adults from all over the country
were sewn together by volunteer forces of the quilters guild with
the promise of bringing warmth to the recipients. The quilts also
brought a piece of home to soldiers who are away from their homes.
Soldiers showed their appreciation with grateful hugs, cheerful
conversations and hearty handshakes.
A table at the Soldier and Family
Assistance Center, here, is piled high with handmade quilts for
soldiers of the Warrior Transition Battalion of Fort Bliss on Feb.
13, 2014. (Photos by Army Staff Sgt. Candice Harrison, 24th Press
Camp Headquarters, Fort Bliss, Texas)
“A wounded soldier or not, any support from the community
is awesome,” said Spc. Daniel Downing, a combat engineer
with 819th Engineer Company (Sapper), Arizona Army National
Guard. “We make a small sacrifice when we join the Army, or
any service. The people back home make the biggest
Downing, who received the Purple Heart
Medal for injuries he incurred while deployed to
Afghanistan, was presented with a special American flag
Sharon Clouser has been making quilts for the
wounded soldiers as part of the guild since 2000 and took
over the reins of the project in 2007.
originally hails from Michigan, said she was looking for a
local place to support with the quilts and came upon the
SFAC. The quilters have been bringing quilts to the WTB
Soldiers since 2007.
Members of the guild come and go
and interest in the project goes through ups and downs, but
Clouser and the guild are always looking for people to help
with the quilts.
“There are always little things to
do for anyone interested in helping,” said Clouser. “We get
most of the signatures for the quilts from gun shows, and we
could use people to gather those."
A true testament
to the use of non-quilting volunteers by the guild is
Maryann Lau-Sargent. While looking for an out-reach project,
she happened upon the guild.
“I help with getting
signatures, ironing quilt squares, baking cookies and
anywhere else I can help,” said Lau-Sargent. “It means a lot
to me how much the Soldiers appreciate the quilts.”
The quilters will be collecting signatures for the next
batch of quilts during the El Paso Gun Show, March 8-9 at
the El Maida Shrine Temple. Those signatures will be made
into quilts and presented to the WTB Soldiers in June.
“When they say ‘thank you' it really means a lot to me,”
said Downing about the quilters and other Americans. “Yeah,
[being a Soldier is] our job, but they appreciate it and
that means a lot to me.”
By U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Candice Harrison
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