FL club presents Quilts of Valor to local soldiers
The many members of the Forest Lake Memorial Quilters find plenty of excitement in cutting, sewing and stitching. None would argue, however, that the interruption to their usual routine at last week’s monthly meeting was unwelcome.
The group presented quilts to two visitors; not just any quilts, and not just any visitors. The intricate works of art were crafted especially for Patrick Mariakis and Seth Peterson, young men from Lindstrom who recently returned from active duty with the Army in the Middle East.
Their connection with the local quilting group is Marilyn Wendorf of Scandia, Seth’s grandmother, who presented his quilt to great applause from the dozens of members.
According to member Vicki McNally, who gave Mariakis his quilt, the group has participated in the Quilts of Valor program for years. Member JoAnn Benoy has made nearly 80 quilts herself and is aiming for 100. However, having such local recipients is a treat, because the club usually sends its creations on for distribution throughout the Midwest.
The soldiers, 2010 graduates of Chisago Lakes High School who have been friends since junior high, took time after the presentation to brief the club on their service abroad. Their stirring acts of bravery brought the quilters to their feet last Thursday.
Mariakis, 21, was injured six months into his deployment in Afghanistan and earned a Purple Heart. He told of escaping death when a grenade landed close by with the pin still in it.
Peterson, 20, served as a gunner on convoy escort missions in Iraq and was based out of Kuwait for his 11-month deployment.
A Delaware mother started Quilts of Valor in 2003 when her son was deployed to Iraq. To date, over 69,000 quilts have been delivered to service members from the War on Terror who have been hurt physically or psychologically.
More information on the regional chapter of the program can be found at www.qovf-um.org. More information on the Forest Lake Memorial Quilters can be found at www.memorialquilters.org.