Quilt honors valor of all veterans
ESTELL MANOR - Commemorating veterans is the mission of both the Atlantic County Veterans Museum and Quilts of Valor, and last week the two joined together to honor veterans past, present and future.
The special occasion was the dedication on Feb. 28 of a quilt made by the South Jersey chapter of Quilts of Valor, which was given to the museum as a way to honor all veterans. It was a bit of a departure from what Quilts of Valor typically does as members usually make and present a quilt to individual veterans. In fact, that was the original plan.
Quilts of Valor originally offered a quilt to Walter Vernon, an Atlantic County Veteran Advisory Board member and retired Army major.
“A good friend of mine is a member of the chapter and wanted to honor me, my father-in-law and my son,” said Vernon. While Vernon was touched that his friend wanted to honor his and his family’s service, he had another idea. “I had the thought, why not present it to the museum,” he said.
Once that idea was presented to the local chapter, the members immediately rallied around the idea.
“It was to honor all veterans,” said Ruth Ann Bosworth, one of the leaders of the South Jersey Chapter of Quilts of Valor.
According to Bosworth, the process of making one of the quilts takes about three to four months. After a pattern is chosen from the list that is offered on the Quilts of Valor website, quilters set to work. Most of the materials used on the quilts are donated.
“We purchase what we can, but a lot is donated,” said Bosworth.
The quilt that was presented to the museum was made by South Jersey chapter member Crystal Smith. Like many Quilts of Valor members, Smith was first drawn to the organization because of a personal connection to a veteran, or veterans as was the case with Smith. While Smith expressed her gratitude for all veterans, “I have a particular soft spot for Vietnam vets,” she said.
The museum was thrilled to receive such a gift.
“The quilt is a symbol of all veterans past and present in the area,” said Nick Leonetti, assistant administrator of the Atlantic County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs and the Atlantic County Veterans Museum. “We have so much history in this area, it blows me away.”
The Atlantic County Veterans Museum is open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum also welcomes scheduled group tours. Its phone number is (609) 909-7305.
The museum is located at 189 Route 50 in Estell Manor, right past the county park and veterans cemetery. For more information on the museum, please visit http://www.atlantic-county.org/vetsmuseum/.
For more information on Quilts of Valor, please visit https://www.qovf.org. The South Jersey chapter also can be found on Facebook under the name of South Jersey Quilts of Valor.