Elizabethton veteran receives ‘quilt of valor’ Saturday morning

For many veterans, it can be difficult for the general public to understand what they went through in the military, and even harder sometimes to receive the help and support they need to go through their daily lives. While a hand-made quilt might not fulfill their physical needs, it can serve as a reminder of the emotional support their communities are willing to give them.

Eugene Lewis did not even know what his family members were leading him to Saturday morning as they went to the Veteran Wall in downtown Elizabethton.

Members of his family and the community gathered to present a hand-made quilt in the colors of the American flag.

“Ain’t nothing better than the red, white and blue,” Lewis said through tears.

Lewis served as a sergeant in the 4/31st 196 Light Infantry Brigade during the Vietnam War.

The quilt comes through a project Lisa Fletcher heard about recently: Quilts of Valor.

“I first heard about it with the Sycamore Stitchers,” Fletcher said. “I thought this was a good idea.”

She then became an official member of the organization, and her shop is one of only five in all of Tennessee.

Fletcher said she and other volunteers worked on Lewis’s quilt for months.

“Each block was made by a different volunteer,” she said. “I made the first two blocks and the kits for the others.”

Quilts of Valor started in 2003 in Delaware, and the program has expanded over the past decade to include those touched by military conflict, regardless of what kind of deployment it was.

The program has awarded roughly 161,400 quilts as of June 1, 2017.

She said she wanted to get involved after seeing the opportunity sitting right in front of her.

“My shop is so close to the Veteran Wall,” Fletcher said. “It is a good opportunity to honor our veterans.”

The family also used the opportunity to set up a small display of old photos of Lewis in the military, including a letter in which Lewis declared he was returning home from the war.

Those interested in more information about the Quilts of Valor can go to their website at www.qovf.org/ or by calling Fletcher’s Homemade at 206-979-7811.

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