If you would like to make a donation to the Golden Plains Quilts of Valor please contact Amy Mellor at 620-617-3627 or send her an email at email@example.com. Other items that can be donated to the Golden Plains Quilts of Valor include sewing machines, ironing boards, irons, and quilting material. These items can be dropped off at the American Legion Post 180 Monday through Saturday after 5 p.m.
Quilt makers and quilting guilds have been around for a long time, but in our own backyard there is a special quilting guild that honors veterans with the quilts its members make.
The Golden Plains Quilts of Valor is a local group of women who make quilts and present them to area veterans. Members hold dear to their hearts what these veterans have done for their country.
“They have done so much for us and to insure our freedom and way of life,” said Amy Mellor, a member of the Golden Plains Quilts of Valor Bee. “This is a very small token of appreciation that we do for them.”
The guild has approximately 24 members, and meets once a month at the American Legion Post 180 in Great Bend, usually the first Saturday of the month. The quilters in the group pick out fabrics, and then take it home to sew.
All of the quilters donate their time to make the Quilts of Valor.
They also meet at the Legion on the last Friday of each month to present these quilts to area veterans. The community is encouraged to attend these events and show their support for these veterans.
They strive to make a quilt for every area veteran. Right now they are making quilts for World War II and Korean War veterans. Once finished with these veterans they will move on to Vietnam veterans.
“We are searching for WW II and Korean War veterans to make sure we have everyone,” said Doris Berkley, another member of the Golden Plains Quilts of Valor Bee.
To date they have made and presented 92 quilts to area veterans, including retired U.S. Senator and Russell native Bob Dole. And at the end of September they hope to break the 100 mark.
The quilt-making process is time consuming and costly.
The quilt top is pieced or sewn together by cutting fabric and sewing it back together in different designs according to whatever pattern is being used. After the quilt top is complete, it is sent to a quilter who puts the top together with the batting (the middle layer) and the backing fabric.
At that point, the three layers, or quilt sandwich as it is called, is actually quilted. After the quilting is complete, the binding is sewn to the edge of the quilt and then stitched down by hand.
The average cost to make a quilt is around $250, this includes material, and sewing. The labor to construct the quilt is donated by the quilters.
• Fabric for the quilt top cost $140-$160
• Fabric for quilt back cost $40
• The quilting cost $40
• Batting cost $40
• Thread cost $10
The Golden Plains Quilts of Valor Bee operates on donations from the American Legion Auxiliary and out of members’ pockets.
“We are supported by the American Legion Auxiliary. Our funds come only from donations and from sales of desserts sold at the American Legion during Bingo,” Mellor said.
The American Legion Post 180 will be hosting a fund-raiser spaghetti feed for the Great Plains Quilts of Valor at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 9. The cost of the meal is $6, this also includes a salad and garlic bread. All the proceeds from the fund-raiser will go to the Golden Plains Quilts of Valor Bee for materials to make these quilts.
The Golden Plains Quilts of Valor Bee is part of a bigger group known as the Quilt of Valor Foundation. The QOVF is nationally known and was started by Catherine Roberts from Seaford, Del., Her son was on a year-long deployment to Iraq, this is what gave her the inspiration and desire to give something back to these warriors returning home from these deployments.
As word spread about this foundation, more and more people wanted to volunteer their time and start making these quilts to honor veterans.
Great Bend was no different, ladies of the community jumped right in and started making quilts for the QOVF. These quilts were sent to Abilene to be displayed at the Eisenhower Museum for display and delivered to veterans. Quilts were sent to Fort Riley, Wichita, Leavenworth and other places but none of the returning veterans from the Great Bend area seemed to receive one.
This made the local quilters anxious to make quilts for local veterans.
This inspired the quilters to form their own guild here in Great Bend, this would insure that the quilts made by these quilters would go to area vets and the quilters would be able to see who received the quilts they have made.
The newly formed guild formed by Debbie Berkley, contacted the American Legion Post 180. The post offered a room for the guild to use to hold their monthly meetings and for a place to sew,
So on August 14, 2012 the Golden Plains Quilt of Valor Bee held their first meeting. 12 people signed up to participate, four people called in, letting them know they could not attend the first meeting. Several participants were American Legion Auxiliary members. Two girl scouts along with their leader came to the meeting.
They have never quilted before but were interested in making a quilt and working on veteran activities, as part of their “Gold Award” activities. The members wanted to help them make a quilt and present it to a veteran of their choice.
This was the beginning of the Golden Plains Quilts of Valor Bee.