Home Local News Ellerbe veteran honored with Quilt of Valor

Ellerbe veteran honored with Quilt of Valor

R.J. Hewitt, of Ellerbe, is awarded a Quilt of Valor by the Sandhills Quilters Guild in Southern Pines on Veterans Day.
Photos courtesy of Belinda Hewitt

SOUTHERN PINES — A Richmond County resident was one of veterans honored by the Sandhills Quilting Guild on Veterans Day.

R.J. Hewitt, of Ellerbe, received a Quilt of Valor along with veterans from Raeford, Cameron, Vass and Kenansville.

Hewitt served in the U.S. Navy as a machinist mate on a small destroyer during the Vietnam War. He served for six years.

“The quilt was a great honor to receive,” Hewitt said. “Never got anything like that before. I love it.”

The Quilts of Valor Foundation began in 2003 after founder Catherine Roberts had a dream about her son, who was serving in Iraq, according to the organization’s website, which includes the following quote from Roberts:

“The dream was as vivid as real life. I saw a young man sitting on the side of his bed in the middle of the night, hunched over. The permeating feeling was one of utter despair. I could see his war demons clustered around, dragging him down into an emotional gutter. Then, as if viewing a movie, I saw him in the next scene wrapped in a quilt. His whole demeanor changed from one of despair to one of hope and well-being. The quilt had made this dramatic change. The message of my dream was:  Quilts = Healing.”

According to the website, the first quilt was awarded in November 2003 to a young soldier from Minnesota who was at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

The organization boasts more than 10,000 volunteer members from 600 groups in all 50 states, according to its website.

Quilts of Valor has made and awarded more than 250,000 quilts, which have “traveled from the U.S. to war-stricken areas, been carried by medics in mobile hospital units, awarded on aircraft carriers and on foreign soil.”

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Most, however, are awarded in American communities.

The Sandhills Quilting Guild has been involved for more than a decade, according to Amy Makson, who added that there are a lot of veterans in the area.

She said her group presented more than 30 quilts last year and about 10 so far this year.

The quilts are now given to active or veteran service members who have “been touched by war.”

“You didn’t have to be wounded physically to be affected by war,” Makson said.

Potential recipients can either be submitted to the national organization or referred locally, Makson said.

Quilts that are awarded locally are also made locally.

Some guild members work on different parts of the quilts, Makson said, adding that there are a few who will make a quilt by themselves.