Debbie Croft: Valor quilts on display at fair

September 1, 2012 

DEBBIE CROFT

If you're planning to go to the Mariposa County Fair this weekend, you may want to visit Building E to see a distinguished collection of quilts.

The Mariposa Piece Makers was asked to display their recent quilting projects, which will soon be donated to the Quilts of Valor Foundation.

Pat Bauer, a local quilter, says, "The QOVF has become a national grass-roots effort to show our gratitude to our nation's wounded warriors ... as they return from combat deployment."

Lap-size quilts are constructed by quilters around the country, donated and sent to military hospitals and individuals.

The Quilts of Valor mission allows civilians to use their skills to show their compassion and patriotism by sewing Quilts of Valor. The quilts are given free of charge for comfort and healing. They are for military service members and veterans who have been wounded or touched by war.

Initially these quilts were given only to Purple Heart recipients. Yet with time the awards were extended to those who suffered mental injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder. Eventually, it was decided that veterans of past conflicts would also be awarded quilts.

Thanks to a donation by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Mariposa Piece Makers were able to purchase fabric and batting. The members have assembled 10 quilts so far and are working on several more.

Recently there was a need for 105 quilts for soldiers in Afghanistan and Germany, but only 62 were made and sent, leaving 43 of our wounded warriors without. The QOVF is looking for more caring citizens to get involved. Visit www.qovf.org for more information, or call Bauer at (209)966-3805.

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Last year, the Mariposa County Fire Department began work on a Sept. 11 memorial using four steel I-beams from the World Trade Center.

The project is being funded with private and donated resources. A small corner of the Arts Park was chosen for the site and work has been ongoing for many months.

The Mariposa County Contractors Association adopted the project, contributing labor and materials for the memorial and to improve the park's walkways. Outback Materials donated a sizable amount of concrete.

The design by Judith Barton of Merced has the I-beams in a jumbled configuration reminiscent of the wreckage, yet the figures and angles were purposely arranged to represent specific details associated with that fateful day.

Decisions made concerning placement of the memorial took into consideration water runoff from heavy, seasonal rains; preservation of existing native plants on the property; and the future location of nearby benches.

A dedication ceremony is scheduled for 3 p.m., Sept. 11, in the Arts Park. The public is invited.

With work on the memorial nearing completion, there is still a need for additional revenue. A raffle-type fundraiser is currently taking place. The drawing will be held at the dedication ceremony. Prizes offered include exclusive handmade jewelry by Lynn Wilson, framed artwork by Lorie Setterberg, Grace Note wind chimes and a five-day deluxe houseboat trip on Lake Don Pedro.

Fire Chief Jim Wilson is thrilled with the generosity of local businesses and artisans, and their contributions to the drawing. Tickets are $5 each or five for $20 and are available at the MCFD office or by calling (209)742-7538.

Debbie Croft writes about life in the foothill communities. She can be reached at composed@tds.net.

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