BLACKBERRY HILL QUILTS
Welcome to the central New York chapter of the Quilts of Valor Foundation!
"Quilting Honor and Comfort for our Wounded Soldiers"
"Honoring Those Whose Lives Have Been Touched By War"
POINT OF CONTACT - HOMES FOR OUR TROOPS
"Building Specially, Accessible Adapted Homes For Severely Wounded Veterans at No Cost"
The following quilts have been more recently awarded. Fourteen quilts have been sent to a residential facility in upstate NY for female soldiers suffering from PTSD due to sexual assult during wartime experience oversees. May God be with them and bless them and those who are helping in their recovery.
Several more quilts have been sent, through the Red Cross, to the hospital in Washington DC for returning vets injured in Afghanistan.
Several quilts have been given to local veterans in honor of their service. Some are young veterans recently returned from war, others are older vets and some are Vietnam veterans.
Thank you to the Sink family and the Hammond family who have been so very generous with donations that help in the expenses of making quilts. Thank you to Diane Hammond who has helped with making quilts and Kathy Lens for making many quilt casings for the presentations.
Thank you to everyone who has been praying for my recovery from cancer. I have been in remission for a while now and am doing very well - thanks be to God. It has been an incredible blessing to be involved in this work of love and to hear from our brave and beautiful veterans and listen to their stories. They are truly more amazing than any words can describe and I am so blessed and honored to give them the very small gift of a quilt and the bigger gift of the thanks and deep appreciation of so many people who support them.
The Central NY Chapter of the USA Quilts of Valor is proud to announce the December 23rd, 2010 recipients. They are Sergeant First Class Roy Mitchell, US Army of Carthage, NY and Cpl. Anthony Castillo, US Army, of Delhi NY. Congrtulations gentlemen, God bless you and your loved ones and Merry Christmas!
As of this August, Quilt of Valor Recipients for 2010 are local NY veterans, Doug Capraro, US Army, Bud Osborne, US Marine Corps, and Bill and Buffy Sink, US Army. They are all outstanding members of their communities and have continued serving others in many ways throughout their lives. I is an honor to know them and their families.
Quilt of Valor Recipients for June, 2009
These are our June 2009 Quilt of Valor Recipients. Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible.
PFC Brendan Marrocco, Staten Island, NY (Currently at Walter Reed)
Sgt. Jeffrey Guerin, Marcellus, NY
Lance Cpl Mark Beyers from East Aurora, NY
Newly completed quilts as of November 12, 2009
This quilt below is one of the most exquisite, stunning Quilts of Valor I have seen, completed by Maryann DeBruin, Rome, NY. Maryann did a lot of leg work to get this to a soldier, and just received her soldier's contact information as of 11/09 and was so happy. It was my honor to get to know you Maryann and to give you a little help along the way. I know you poured your heart into this quilt. God bless you and thank you!
Star Quilt commissioned by Francis Brockett, West Winfield, NY Completed 11/09/09
If you would like to commission a quilt for a wounded soldier please go to the Contact Us link and let us know. Thank you!
Quilts of Valor
December 27th, 2009 Thank you to those who donated towards shipping quilts. This past week 10 quilts were shipped to Fort Hood, Texas to honor the medical personnel who were in the building processing soldiers when the gunman started to fire. They will be honored in a special ceremony January 7th, 2010. God bless you all and we are so sorry for your trauma and suffering and thank you for you service. Another 7 quilts were shipped to San Diego VA patients, c/o Mike and Ann Sloan in Coronado, CA. The quilts were presented to Marines from Iraq and Afghanistan. God bless our Marines and we thank you for your service and keep you always in our thoughts and prayers. To Mike Sloan, thank you for your service to our soldiers and helping us to get their quilts to them. God bless you.
November 12th 2009 I am sorry it's been a while since I've updated this page. I got hit by the "cancer truck" this past August and it slowed me down for a while. I did hear from Brendan's father a while back and he reports that Brendan is making progress towards his goals. Please keep the family in your prayers. He was recently reunited with his platoon for a very special visit and I saw some of the photographs. Wow!
April 19th, 2009 -Urgent Prayer Request for Brendan Marrocco, wounded warrior, Iraq. Earlier this week he was not expected to survive his injuries and is still in critical condition. He is currently hospitalized in Germany facing quadruple amputations of arms and legs. He is a 21 year old from NY and is the sole survivor of a Humvee bombing. Please pray for him and his family who recently flew to Germany to be with him. Please pray for his fellow soldiers in arms. Thank you and God bless you.
April 29th update - Brendan has been moved to Walter Reed in Washington DC and has survived his injuries. He is undergoing procedures to save one of his eyes, so please keep him in prayer.
June 17th, 2009 update- I hope to refer Brendan's family to Homes for our Troops since he meets the qualifications. I hope so much they can help him. I have been working on his quilt and I poured my heart into it. It's finally ready to be shipped out. Thank you to my sister Mary Beth who is helping me out as my point of contact keeping us up to date on information. Update - June 25th, 2009 A big thank you thank you to Avery Marder, Brooklyn, NY for accepting shipment of Brendan's quilt and his Homes for our Troops referral information, in order to hand deliver it to him at Walter Reed next week. God bless you!
June 18th, 2009 - Our founder Gail has just returned from her "Quilts Across America" trip from California, her home, to Camp Lejeune. She collected over 1,300 quilts to present to the returning Batallion of Marines. She and her family did such a wonderful job of sharing her trip all along the way I felt like I was there. We love you guys!!!! Please see my video of the presentation of quilts to the soldiers on the video link. We love our soldiers!!! Next week I will have the honor of visiting the traveling Wall, a reproduction of the Wall in Washington DC to honor fallen Vietnam soldiers. We will be bringing a flower to place for my husband's classmate who gave his life by throwing himself on top of a grenade to save his platoon. There are so many loving, heroic soldiers who can't tell their stories, so the Wall brings them to us. I feel so privileged to be able to go to this event. I talked to the vet who is in charge of the ceremonies there and they expect thousands of people. What a great idea for us to be able to honor veterans in this way. God bless the American Legion who sponsors so many exceptional events like this one. I have been meeting amazing, wonderful people who love our soldiers so much and I thank everyone who has given me donations for mailing out quilts lately. Everything always seems to fall into place at the right time. Thank you for your kindness.
Yes I am a techno - dufus. I had this whole page written out and published yesterday and then accidentally erased it today while trying to load photos of two new QOV quilt tops I just finished. So......here we go again. Thank you so very much for visiting my Quilts of Valor page, and the central New York Chapter. This is the news as of June 17th, 2009. We have been working on lots of quilts and have about 40 personal sized quilts completed, labeled, with presentation cases and ready to go, as well as 4 bed sized. I will be listing completed quilts and tops in my Quilts of Valor album so you can see what we are up to. (You can access the photos from the photo gallery link.) These have all had labels attached and presentation cases made. Also, the letters of thanks and the poems have been completed. There are about 18 quilt tops waiting to be finished.
Main goals for the present are to continue to locate local wounded veterans from the War on Terror, plan a local quilt awarding ceremony for Vietnam vets, and continue to build up my points of contact. So far I have located four seriously wounded vets who have been discharged in my general area and have 3 addresses. It wasn't easy. I should have listened to my local VFW leader when he told me that trying to find these guys is like trying to herd cats. He was right...I can not believe the amount of detective work involved. However, now that I have discovered that Rome hospital is the place to go, I am contacting the chaplain there. Also I discovered that Fort Drum, which is fairly close to me, has a Warrior Transition Unit, which is a fairly new thing. The soldiers in the unit are all recovering from wounds received while they were deployed, and are recuperating before they are shipped out again. (I can't even imagine what that must be like...) I finally got a point of contact for there too. It has been very interesting and I've learned so much. Still it's a bitter sweet journey but God bless these young people, and our Vietnam vets too. I've been hearing a lot of their stories lately. They are truly the backbone of our community and have lead amazing lives. They volunteer for everything you can possibly imagine, and are always the first ones there helping out any one in need. It will be such a great joy to give a little something back to them, in the form of an honor they may never have received.
Future goals for this project are to continue to recruit top makers, donors and quilters and to educate the public about the foundation. I am planning a silent auction of Irish themed quilts, to raise money and just because I'm Irish and I love green. It will also be a wonderful opportunity for me to share my Irish culture with the public. All our quilts will come with historical and cultural documentation. (Please check my Photo Gallery link to go the appropriate album to view what will be offered.) I would like to hold it at a major public event to help educate people about the needs of our vets, and also share other appropriate information (such as Homes for our Troops). Please keep checking back at my News link for updates. We'll use the money to keep buying more fabric, batting, and save money for postage overseas.
My favorite new discovery is a group called "Homes for our Troops." You can find their link on my links page - if I don't accidentally erase that too! You would not believe the amazing work that these guys do. Oh my gosh! This is a non-profit organization that assists severely injured veterans by building (or modifying) specially adapted, handicap-accessible homes (for free) designed to accommodate the veteran's disabilities. Everything that can be done to enhance independence and ability to do activities of daily living is considered. They involve volunteers from the community where they are building to get the job done. The group has built three of them in my state, and are current working on a fourth just north of me for SFC Roy Mitchell. They are a great point of contact for anyone involved in our foundation, because they are national. If you have time, view the videos on my video link. You can also access their site by clicking on my links. Please visit their site!
Making a quilt of valor is a very humbling experience. Sometimes you feel you're not even worthy to do this. Sometimes you worry about your recipients suffering and recovery, you think about their family and their brothers in arms, you pray, you sigh, you cry. There really aren't any words to describe the process but it's very profound and not for the faint of heart.......
This is what I will be sending every soldier with their quilt:
This is a poem I wrote just for you and I send it with your quilt with all my love
My Soldier's Quilt
Within the quiet of our hearts a sweet place can be found,
Where tears and grief are silenced now
And peace enfolds all 'round.
Now softly comes a gentle calm and light that brings new day,
And hope returns with soothing grace
While souls can once more pray.
How quietly each stitch is made behind the sewing door,
A quilt of love and dreams and sighs
For soldiers hurt in war.
A quilt of calm, to gently sooth and softly wrap around
And catch the tears of shattered hearts
With wounds deep and profound.
Oh please accept, my soldier dear, this humble gift of heart.
I can't do much, or change things back
But this could be a start.
This quilt of valor, quilt of love, can help you on through life,
With love and hope and thankfulness
For your great sacrifice.
It comes with prayers and thoughts so dear. It comes here just for you,
To cherish with the greatest pride
Your heart, so brave and true.
With love to you dear soldier, from JoEllen Maring
Some of my favorite photos:
Soldiers at Fort Brag picking out their quilts.
No words necessary.
Gals and a guy and quilts of valor.
What can I possibly say!
Soldiers and their quilts!
Giant stack of quilts! Deserves giant bunch of hugs!
Jo Ellen Maring, Founder, Central NY Quilts of Valor
Do as much as you can, the best that you can, for as long as you can.
Be kinder than necessary. It's so important to be kind because everyone you know is fighting some sort of battle.
Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is a quiet voice at the end of a day saying... "I will try again tomorrow."
And a final thought from Wounded Warrior Brendan Morocco "I don't give up when I'm tired. I don't give up when I'm in pain. I try and fight through everything."