I get a great paycheck for this work, usually in the form of hugs and smiles.
2012 Celebrity Cruise Honoree
Barbara was born in Washington State, but moved to Southern California when she was three years old, and has remained there ever since. She worked for many years in sales and real estate, and is now retired.
For the past 16 years, Barbara has put in over 40 hours each week with a group called Quilts of Valor. This nationwide group of quilters creates beautiful quilts for military veterans, and often purchases fabric and pays shipping costs out of their own pockets.
Barbara's group has delivered more than 5,225 quilts to veterans of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Beirut, Desert Storm, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Of that nmber, 591 Quilts were awarded in 2018 alone. Says Barbara: "It's worthwhile to see the smiles or get a letter from our vets when they receive these quilts. They truly appreciate the time and work we put in to honor their service. It's something that can warm their bodies, hearts and souls. Many recipients think of them as works of art, and plan to pass them on to their descendants."
This past February. Quilts of Valor awarded a 97-year-old WWII Navy Veteran with a quilt. The group also awared four quilts to two WWII POWs, one from Korea, and one from Vietnam. And in March, Quilts of Valor attended services at the Vietnam Memorial repilica in Bellflower, California
SoCal Quilts of Valor also had the honor to sew a quilt for two WWII Veterans, including a 99-year-old former soldier as well as the co-pilot of the Enola Gay. Barbara also completed a special quilt for a Korean War Veteran who is one of the last eight living recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor (in addition to two Purple Heart medals and many other awards). Says Barbara: "I get lots of hugs and smiles, and that's better than a paycheck."
Each quilt is a labor of love that takes many hours to complete. Most people on Barbara's team have worked together for several years now, and they are the model of efficiency. When they gather as a team, each person has a specific task, such as piecing the front, doing the backing, or making the binding. The quilts all have different themes. Some are patriotic, others are pictorial, floral, plaid, or a mix of various fabrics. Says Barbara: "We don't really like to make flag patterns because people tend to hang quilts like that on the wall. We mean for the quilts to be used."
Barbara and her husband, Donald, have 8 children and 16 grandchildren, and one great grandchild due to arrive this summer! Donald will join Barbara on the cruise.