Wrapping them in colorful quilts created just for them, the congregation of First Christian Reformed Church in Bellflower, Calif., honored nine of their military veteran members during their morning service Nov. 10. Those honored had served in World War II, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and in Kosovo. The group also included a Purple Heart recipient.
Each of the donated quilts were handmade by a volunteer organization called Quilts of Valor. This charity has volunteer chapters across North America, and to date they have donated more than 250,000 handmade quilts to veterans.
Karla Evans, a member of the social committee at First CRC, coordinated the event with the help of the local Quilts of Valor chapter. “A lot of work goes into each quilt,” Evans noted. Each quilt is handmade and takes 50-80 hours to complete depending on the pattern. Each quilt is made for each specific veteran with their interests, hobbies, and service history in mind.
“Sometimes this is the first time they have ever received a thank you,” Evans said of the practice. She noted, “The quilt is always wrapped around their shoulders to give a feeling of caring and love.” Many of the veterans had their immediate family as well as some extended family present at the service. Jerry Westra, once of the honored veterans, said he was proud to be honored in front of his children and grandchildren.
Jim Denouden, another one of the veterans who received a quilt, was asked about the experience. “Receiving the quilt was wonderful, but being honored as a veteran by the congregation was even a greater blessing.” Denouden, who served in the Army from 1969 to 1971, said he would “treasure the quilt” and he’s “thankful for such a special gift.”