Handmade Quilts Cloak Wounded Warriors In Love
(June 4, 2011)
|CAMP BASTION, Afghanistan (AFNS - 5/30/2011) -- Service
members categorized as critical care aeromedical transport
team patients are all leaving the contingency aeromedical
staging facility with a very special package: a handmade
quilt stitched with love.|
Shortly after the January arrival of the current contingency aeromedical staging facility team, quilts began arriving at the clinic. Wanting to provide something special for the wounded warriors and hoping to provide a touch of home, Jill Shaver, from Murfreesboro, Tenn., began fashioning homemade quilts and sending them to the CASF team. U.S. Air Force courtesy photo
Shortly after the January arrival of the current
CASF team, quilts began arriving at the clinic. Wanting to
provide something special for the wounded warriors and
hoping to provide a touch of home, Jill Shaver, from
Murfreesboro, Tenn., began fashioning homemade quilts.|
"We've found that there are so many people
who just want to help but don't know how," said Lt. Col.
Barbara Persons, the 451st Expeditionary Aeromedical
Evacuation Squadron Detachment 1 CASF commander. "These
quilts are a testament to how much people care."
Straight from a supportive American's hands into the service
member's lap, these handmade quilts take weeks of
painstaking care to create.
"They usually come every
four to six weeks and we'll get two or three of them at a
time," the colonel said. "So much time and effort has been
put into each and every quilt. You can just feel the love
when you hold them."
The arrival of the first quilts
came just prior to a CCATT patient's need for
"I remember when we first got these
quilts," the colonel said. "Almost instantly we received
word that a CCATT patient needed to be moved and it just
seemed right that a quilt would cover him during transport."
The delivery of quilts became a harbinger to a
wounded warrior's arrival.
"Within days we would
have a person to give a quilt to," the colonel said. "What a
heaven sent (gift) it's been to be able to provide them with
something that's been made with such care and love."
The quilts are part of a volunteer program where people from
the United States send items to the CASF for service members
in hopes of making their stay a little bit easier.
"Everyone is so generous," said Capt. Zoe Woolston, a 451st
EAES Det. 1 CASF clinical nurse. "A lot of what we have here
has come from people who just want to help in some way."
The CASF staff receives regular shipments of care
packages for the troops, so many that an Airman was needed
to manage the program.
Senior Airman Christine Holmes
volunteered to take over the program and immediately set to
work organizing the items they had on hand and made an
inventory of the items that service members might have need
"Many times, when a Marine comes in, they don't
have anything, clothes, shoes, you name it," Colonel Persons
said. "So, when people ask what we need, we're able to tell
them because Airman Holmes has really done a great job
identifying what we have on hand and what we need."
With all the care packages that come in, Airman Holmes has
taken special care with the quilts. As the quilts come in,
she ensures they are individually wrapped. Each bag is
marked with a tag and stored in a box marked "CCATT Only."
"When the quilts arrive, I make sure I unpack them right
away and put a blank anti-hijack tag on them and pack them
away," said Airman Holmes, a medical technician deployed
from the 95th Medical Group at Edwards Air Force Base,
Calif. "When we get notified that a CCATT (patient) is ready
to be moved, I start filling out the tag with his
information to make sure it goes with him."
handmade quilts are adorned with an embroidered Purple Heart
medal at the center. The quilts all have decorative
stitching sealing the quilts together. The stitching depicts
an American bald eagle, stars and hearts. Most of them are
in a red, white and blue color scheme but there is one quilt
that stands apart from the rest. Mrs. Shaver made a purple
one in case an injured female service member comes through
"This one's got purple in it for a woman,"
Colonel Persons said. "I never like to pull these quilts out
but I hope this one stays wrapped up; but if a woman does
come through here who's critical, there's a very special
quilt waiting for her."
When the service member opens
the quilt, he or she also receives a card from the quilter
wishing the quick recovery of its new owner.
cards that she sends are addressed to the (service members)
and sometimes after the patients have recovered, they
contact her," Colonel Persons said. "Jill always wonders
when she's making a quilt about who it'll go to. So, if a
patient contacts her, it gives a her sense of closure in a
The quilts are signs to the wounded that they
haven't been forgotten and people back home are thinking of
"It's good that we can send these quilts home
with our critical patients because it shows them that
there's a lot of support for what they're doing," Airman
Holmes said. "As they recover, it's something they can have
to remind them they're not alone and they're not forgotten."
Homemade quilts even adorn the beds in the wards,
providing a less sterile environment for the recovering
"It's got all these comforts of home and
it shows that people care about you," said. Marine Sgt. Todd
Cross, an Abrams tank gunner and recovering patient. "It's a
little touch of home."
The quilts are their own form
of medication to the wounded warriors. As long as there is a
need, critically wounded warriors will continue to receive
tokens from members of a grateful nation.
so many concerned people out there who just want to do
something special for our wounded warriors," Colonel Persons
said. "They send us enough that everyone who comes through
here will know that the people back home care about their
USAF TSgt. Stacia Zachary|
U.S. Air Forces
Central combat correspondent
Provided by Air Force News Service
Comment on this article