Community Hero: Selflessly sews Quilts of Valor
In honor of Veteran's Day, for this installment of KLEW Community Hero, a woman who spends her time making sure local veterans get the honor they deserve.
"A bald eagle goes a long ways whether it be on green background or a red, white and blue background," said Sharon Ledbetter. She started volunteering for the Quilts of Valor Foundation back in 2009. "When we think of, you know, a cold time we think of wrapping ourselves in a quilt," she explained. Sharon realized it's a way her hobby, could really make a difference. "The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover our service members and veterans with quilts to honor and comfort them."
Since she's been involved, she's been able to make a difference for many local veterans. "I have awarded probably 2,000 quilts in this area, since 2009. And I can tell you, that there have been some real changes in live that have happened."
The idea behind it, is to give something concrete to help them understand, the difference they made in the world. "They are still hurting, you know. You don't suffer what they've suffered and not have some emotions stick with you, the rest of your life."
When they award a veteran their quilt they give a speech. "Though we may never know the depth of your sacrifice, to protect and defend the united states of America, on behalf of our citizens, today we award you, your quilt of valor," she said. For Sharon, those words, mean a lot. "Once in a while, those words will not come out, the tears run, on both sides. So you understand then the true meaning and the healing of that quilt." Sharon said, "there have been some veterans who the quilt always comes with a hug that you can feel that emotion come from deep within, that you can feel just dissipate."
And that's how the quilt helps begin an important process. “Sometimes it opens that door to let them talk, to begin that whole healing process, that's what it's all about, the healing."
Each quilt takes around 60 hours to make. and some are even paid for by the volunteers. Even with all the work that goes into it, when you ask Sharon what keeps her going, her answer is selfless. "It's the passion for the veterans. The guys that stepped out there, and gals, and stood in harm’s way so that I could do what I do, that we have freedoms here in our country. It's pure and simple, if you remember service over self, then it's easy," Sharon said.
The Quilts of Valor Foundation is run on donations, and by volunteers. Sharon said they are always looking for more people to get involved locally. If you would like to donate, or get more information on how to get involved, visit https://lcqov.weebly.com/