By Travis Mounts
CLEARWATER – Nine local veterans were honored on Monday night with Quilts of Valor, which were presented by the Ole Sew and Sews, a local quilting group.
Monday’s ceremony at First Baptist Church recognized nine local veterans. This was the seventh ceremony; last year’s event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recipients included Lee Harp, Bob Cumming, Phil Wise, Steven Smothers, Gary Freed, Earl Brockman, Damon Kraft, Mike Hasty, Dennis Gladfleter and Don Watt.
Presenting the quilts is often an emotional moment, for the quilters and for the veterans.
“Honestly, it’s amazing,” said Becky Schievelbein of the Ole Sew and Sews. “When we gave them to the Vietnam veterans, it’s hard to describe.”
She said those moments were special, because so many returning Vietnam veterans were treated harshly upon their return to America. Tears were shed.
“It fills your heart. We love doing it,” Schievelbein said.
Over the years, the Old Sew and Sews have been able to present quilts to most local veterans who served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Schievelbein said the Ole Sew and Sews needs the public’s help in identifying a veteran who has not been given a quilt.
Even though the group has focused on mostly older veterans, Schievelbein said the quilts are for veterans of any age, including those who have recently served in Iraq or Afghanistan.
She said the group has not presented very many quilts to women, either. If you know a veteran, regardless of gender or when they served, Schievelbein asks you to call her at 620-545-7447. The Quilts of Valor are available for any person in the USD 264 school district boundaries. Similar groups are operating in Conway Springs and Argonia.
There are seven members in the Ole Sew and Sews who do much of the work. The quilting is donated by J.B. Stitchery in Wichita.