Blanket coverage: Trading Ford ladies make lap quilts for Honor Flight in Ohio
By Mark Wineka
SPENCER — Somewhere in Ohio this past week, members of Buckeye Military Families opened up boxes mailed from Spencer, N.C., and no doubt they oohed and aahed each time they pulled out another red-white-and-blue creation.
They were appreciating nine lap quilts made by a group of women at Trading Ford Baptist Church — women who do this kind of thing all the time for other people.
Each of the quilts will be given to one of the Vietnam era veterans going on a Honor Flight from Columbus, Ohio, to Washington, D.C., in September.
“We were very pleased to make them,” Joy Gerock said, guessing that the women of Trading Ford Baptist have made 100 quilts for various people over the past seven years.
This particular effort was spearheaded by Doris Schroen.
“I mentioned something at church, and all these ladies got on board,” Schroen says.
The group included Schroen, Doris Hixon, Debbie Ogden and sisters Gerock, Linda Thomas and Gayle Wilson. Hixon and Ogden are Navy veterans themselves, so the lap quilts for women veterans struck a chord with them.
The three sisters combined to make four of the quilts; Hixon, three; and Schroen and Odgen, one each. Gerock says the average size of the lap quilts was 36-by-45 inches, though it’s hard to be precise when talking about the size of quilts.
“It talks to you,” Schroen says of how large or small certain quilts want to be.
In their lap quilt labels, several of the women included the words, “Thank you for your service.”
The whole lap quilt thing actually started with Penny Sigmon in Salisbury. Sigmon, whose son is a Marine, belongs to Semper Fi Sisters, a national organization whose members support the active military, veterans and each other — Blue Star and Gold Star mothers, for example.
Through Semper Fi Sisters, Sigmon heard of the Buckeye Military Families’ “Lap Blanket Project,” and she put a post on Facebook asking for friends to consider making a quilt for that cause.
Schroen saw that post, talked it up at church, and soon nine quilts were in progress.
For the first time last Wednesday morning, Sigmon met the quilt ladies in person at Schroen’s home.
“They were all beautiful,” Sigmon told the women, all of whom were able to attend except Ogden, who works at the Hefner VA Medical Center. “Y’all did an awesome job.”
The Trading Ford women sort of shrug off their contribution. They try to find creative ways to help people all the time, but something of note happened at the Spencer Post Office when Schroen went to mail the quilts.
She walked in with the quilts in a 33-gallon garbage bag, and Schroen knew she was going to need some help in getting them packaged, addressed and paid for. She told the man behind her he had better go first, because she was going to take a while.
When the man learned what Schroen was planning to ship and for whom, he took over. He pulled out the quilts, laid them on a table, set them in boxes the post office had, wrapped them up and made sure they were ready to go.
From what Schroen could make out from the blue T-shirt he was wearing, she guessed the man was a military veteran himself.
“I’ve been to the sandbox,” he confirmed.
Schroen thanked him for his service and for helping her with the packaging.
“It was so awesome he did that,” Schroen said. “It was so kind. I haven’t been able to forget it.”
Schroen got the man’s name, but he wanted to be anonymous.
It cost $19.75 to mail the lap quilts. The experience was priceless.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.
Gene Mitchell provided this photograph to the Post. It was taken at Mrs. W.B. Gheen’s 81st birthday party at the home... read more