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Quilts of Honor

Little Balkans Quilt Guild holds annual ceremony

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PITTSBURG, KS – After spending a year sewing and stitching, the Little Balkans Quilt Guild continued its annual tradition of gifting its quilt creations to 11 veterans in the area on Monday evening. 

Veterans, their families, and members of the Little Balkans Quilt Guild filled the gymnasium of the Presbyterian Church in Pittsburg to see the guild present patriotic quilts to those who served in the military.  

Since 2010, the guild has been making the Quilts of Honor, and has made over 150 quilts, according to guild member Brandee Switzer.  

Little Balkans Quilt Guild project chairperson Lori Fennern said the group meets once a month for a Sew Day at which the members exchange fabric strips that they use to make the quilts. Some members make one quilt entirely by themselves, while others worked as a team to produce the quilts, she said.  

“I like seeing the veterans come in and receive the quilts, and how grateful they are for it,” Fennern said. “They sacrificed a lot to go overseas and protect us, and so the little time it took us to make the quilts and give to them is a good exchange for their service.”  

During the ceremony, the guild members called the veterans one at a time to the stage so they could present each individual with his or her quilt. The veterans were asked to share a brief summary of their military history and experience.  

One of the quilt recipients, Vicky Gaikowski, who served in the Army Nursing Corps, said she was blown away that she was honored at the ceremony.  

“I had no clue,” she said. “I’m very, very honored. I’m very thrilled.” 

The veterans honored at the meeting were Craig Schropp, Sylvia Shirley, Adam Harrison, Robert Emery, Duane Hill, Eric Hutchens, Vicky Gaikowski, Eugene Carr Jr., Dane Uber, Gene Corsini, Jay O’Ferell, and Richard Tindle.  

In addition to presenting veterans with their Quilts of Honor on Monday evening, the Little Balkans Quilt Guild also gave The Salvation Army 90 doll-sized quilts, 43 pillow case, 4 stockings, and 10 adult-sized quilts for the organization to give out to families in need this holiday.  

Salvation Army Major Patricia Johnson said she appreciated the numerous doll-sized quilts due to the fact that The Salvation Army in Pittsburg received 100 more applications than last year for the annual Christmas Distribution. She said many of the children requested baby dolls and strollers for Christmas, so the small quilts would be perfect to go with those items.  

“I just want you all to know how much we appreciate all this,” Johnson said. “The children will be very grateful.” 

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