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Floyd County Quilts of Valor honor four military veterans

  • Military veterans (from L to R) Donald Marvin, Jim DeVore, Tom Grimm and J.A. Schilling receive their Floyd County Quilts of Valor at Riverside Senior Living in Charles City on Wednesday. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

  • Donald Marvin is adorned with his Floyd County Quilt of Valor on Wednesday in Charles City. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

  • A Quilt of Valor is placed around Jim DeVore's shoulders on Wednesday in Charles City. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

  • Tom Grimm savors the moment after he receives a Quilt of Valor on Wednesday in Charles City. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

  • J.A. Schilling receives his Quilt of Valor on Wednesday in Charles City. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

  • J.A. Schilling receives his Quilt of Valor on Wednesday in Charles City. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

  • Joyce Laffe speaks to the audience at the Floyd County Quilts of Valor ceremony held at Riverside Senior Living in Charles City on Wednesday. Lisa Gebel holds up one of the quilts that she helped make. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

  • Joyce Laffe speaks to the audience at the Floyd County Quilts of Valor ceremony held at Riverside Senior Living in Charles City on Wednesday. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

By Kelly Terpstra, kterpstra@charlescitypress.com

Cover and comfort.

That’s what Quilts of Valor do.

The newly formed Floyd County Quilts of Valor held its first ceremony presentation Wednesday afternoon at Riverside Senior Living in Charles City.

The Floyd County non-profit group honored four veterans — Jim DeVore, J.A. Schilling, Donald Marvin and Tom Grimm — with beautiful handmade quilts to recognize their service to the United States Military.

It was a day the Navy, Army and Marine veterans won’t soon forget. Many in the building shed tears as the quilts were wrapped around the veterans’ shoulders.

“It was very emotional and very heartfelt,” said Jodi Hammond-Milleson, a member of the Floyd County Quilts of Valor who helps with QOV media relations.

Joyce Laffe, who led the presentation and helped create the gifts of remembrance, said the quilts are a token of appreciation that say thank you for the veterans’ service, sacrifice and valor.

“We put the best possible materials and workmanship into every quilt we make so it will be a lasting award for the person it is meant to comfort,” said Laffe.

Laffe said all materials, supplies and labor were donated to make the quilts.

“We hope that your quilts will be used and cherished by you and your families for many years to come,” Laffe said. “Quilts of Valor can never be bought or sold.”

“You are our first fabulous four,” Laffe said, smiling at the recipients.

Donald Marvin, a Marine Corps corporal who served in Vietnam from 1971 to 1973, received the first quilt, calling the honor “real special.”

The next veteran to receive a quilt was Jim DeVore, a specialist first class in the Army from 1969-1972 who was stationed in Turkey and the U.S.

Laffe said the quilts are stitched with love, prayers and human thoughts. On the back of each quilt is a label, the recipient’s name and date. Who the quilt was pieced by is also recognized on the fabric.

Tom Grimm, a specialist fourth class in the Army who was stationed in Germany from 1966-1968, received the next quilt.

Grimm shed tears as the quilt was placed around his neck. Applause soon followed from the many in attendance after the quilt had found its home.

“That’s why we do it, because they do appreciate it,” said Laffe.

J.A. Schilling, who was a Navy seaman second class and fought in the Korean War from 1950-1954, was the last to receive his quilt. He served on the U.S.S. Brown naval destroyer.

“I was in the Navy and it was probably the best education I ever got,” said Schilling.

Mitchell, Cerro Gordo and Howard counties have held ceremonies in the past that included Floyd County veterans among those receiving Quilts of Valor.  In April, Floyd County created its own group to award the quilts.

How soon can Floyd County expect more veterans to receive Quilts of Valor?

“As fast as we can make them,” laughed Laffe.

Many hours are devoted to hand-making the quilts.

First the top layer of the quilt is pieced. Those who performed that task for each quilt handed out on Wednesday were Lisa Gebel, Marlene Cordes and Colette Schmidtke.

Laffe quilts the fabric together with the bottom layer, stuffs it and then adorns the decorative stitching. Then the quilt goes back to the piecers, who carefully sew the binding around the edge.

Laffe said the average quilt costs about $250 to make. Quilts of Valor are all made by volunteers.

Catherine Roberts started the Quilts of Valor Foundation in 2003 out of her home in Delaware during her son’s deployment in Iraq. Laffe said more than 218,000 quilts have been made and handed out to veterans across the nation.

Donations and nominating veterans to receive quilts can be completed by submitting names at www.QOVF.org. For more information on becoming a volunteer or to donate in Floyd County, contact Adrienne O’Neill at 919-961-5317.

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