MANNING - A local quilting group is using its talents to honor military veterans throughout Clarendon County.
In February, the Clarendon County Quilts of Valor Group joined the Quilts of Valor Foundation, a national community service initiative that focuses on local quilters making special quilts for veterans and active service members.
"I'm just a crazy quilting lady," said Melana Maxie, group leader of the Clarendon group. "First, I made four quilts and donated those, and then I decided to make a quilt a month. Then, I started the group."
Maxie, who moved to the Wyboo area three years ago, said she participated in a quilting group in Sumter and donated quilts there before starting the group in Clarendon County.
One month after establishing the local group, the quilters awarded their first quilt to an Iraq War veteran.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the awards process, the local quilters continued to sew quilts. Recently the CCQVG began awarding the quilts they've worked so hard to finish. In the past few weeks, the group has awarded 18 quilts to local veterans. Recipients have included a World War II veteran in Summerton, a Korean War veteran, many Vietnam vets and veterans of several Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
The local group is searching for additional quilters to make quilt blocks as well as entire quilts. The group is also asking for donations of quilting fabric, batting and other items such as copying services, shipping quilts or hosting quilting events at businesses, organizations or churches. They also need a donated place where they can work on their quilts.
For more information on the Clarendon County Quilts of Valor Group, join the group, make donations or nominate a veteran who would be comforted by a quilt, call Maxie, group leader, at (817) 504-7694.
"What we do is pretty cool," Maxie said. "It just grabs my heart and squeezes."
The national organization was founded in 2003 by Catherine Roberts, A Blue Star Mom. It was her son's yearlong deployment to Iraq that provided the initial inspiration for making the quilts. Her desire to see that returning warriors were welcomed home with the love and gratitude that they deserved provided additional inspiration to get the job done.
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