Salisbury-Rowan Quilter’s Guild presents quilts to veterans

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 3, 2016

By Amanda Raymond

SALISBURY — Shelley Lenhausen, the Salisbury-Rowan Quilters Guild president, said she got the idea for a Veterans’ Appreciation Quilts event from attending a quilting seminar in Wisconsin three years ago.

She said men and women walked into the seminar in full military regalia for the Quilts of Valor ceremony and were presented with quilts for their service.

“Someone should have warned me to bring tissues,” she said.

Lenhausen said she knew she had to bring the event back to Rowan County.

“I wanted to cover my little part of the world, and that’s Rowan County,” she said.

Now, as the Veterans’ Appreciation Quilts event coordinator, Lenhausen has worked to give 87 quilts to local veterans as of this year’s event.

About 40 veterans, family and friends showed up for the ceremony at the First Baptist Church’s ministry center on Saturday during the Sunny Days and Starry Nights Quilt Show.

Lenhausen said she and Cindy Sipp, another guild member, quilted many of the quilts, and her mother bound the quilts.

Guild members received military emblems and different packages of fabric to work with, and then two long-arm quilters did all the quilting.

The guild typically gives away 15 to 20 quilts during each event.

The veterans are nominated by people in the community and put on a list to receive a quilt. Linda Bryant, publicity chairperson for the show, said the veterans do not have to do anything special to be put on the list — they just have to be veterans.

There was also a quilt raffled off to raise money in support of the program. The quilt featured a black ribbon with different branches of the military and “thank you’s” printed on it against a white background and a gold border.

Lenhausen called up the veterans to receive their quilts, and the quilters who crafted the quilts were also called up so that the veteran could meet them. The quilts featured many different patterns and shapes, all in a red, white and blue theme.

Robert Leon Brush Sr., who was one of the veterans who received a quilt, said he served with the turnpike commission to construct a turnpike through Georgia from 1953 to 1955.

“I feel honored and overwhelmed,” he said.

Ruby Kepley served in the U.S. Air Force and continues to serve in the Lyerly’s Volunteer Honor Guard.

“I’m very proud to have served and to receive an honor from the quilters’ guild like this, and I will cherish it,” she said.

Audrey Wright, who served in the U.S. Air Force, said it was great to actually meet her quilter, Merle Clifford.

“It is really an honor to know that people are thinking about you,” she said.

Her husband, Maj. Willie L. Wright, who served in the U.S. Air Force, Civil Air Patrol and U.S. Army, said he likes supporting any event that honors veterans.

“Anytime the community wants to pay honor to veterans, it’s a good thing,” he said.

Cindy Sapp was Maj. Willie L. Wright’s quilter.

Chloe Goho, who quilted two of the quilts, said she was proud to be creating something to honor veterans.

“It is such a pleasure to thank them for their service,” she said.

The guild also provides cuddle quilts for all of the children who go through the Family Crisis Council of Rowan County and pillowcases for Victory Junction, a camp for children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses, Bryant said.

“We like to share our talents and have our community enjoy our quilts,” she said.

The Quilt Show is organized every two years. There are different sized quilts, from crib-sized to wall hangings, each with different themes, patterns and inspirations. Many of the quilts won awards.

Lenhausen ended the ceremony with a poem to which she added her own ending: “Today we honor you with this small token. For when you wrap yourself with this quilt, it’s with the loving arms of this nation.

To request a quilt for a veteran or donate to the program, contact Shelley Lenhausen at . The program is only open for Rowan County veterans.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.