American Hero Quilts now on display in Issaquah
By KEVIN ENDEJAN
Issaquah Reporter Assistant editor
July 21, 2012 · 4:28 PM
The pieces of fabric arrive from all corners of the United States.
Some have even journeyed from as far away as Scotland and Australia.
But, they all have one thing in common — gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice.
"People put their love into them and their best wishes," said Sue Nebeker, a Vashon Island resident, who established the non-profit American Hero Quilts to show appreciation soldiers injured in combat.
Since creating her non-profit organization eight years ago, Nebeker has shipped 11,217 quilts to soldiers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Inspired by a Seattle Post-Intelligencer story about a solider who returned home and committed suicide, Nebeker felt obligated to do something for those who put their lives' on the line.
"I was remembering all the people that came back from Vietnam and how they had to take off their uniforms and they had to hide," she said. "I was so worried that would happen to our warriors who were coming back, so I decided that we would make quilts for wounded warriors."
Issaquah and Sammamish residents can easily view several of the quilts up close through Aug. 19 at Bellewood Retirement Center, located just off 228th Avenue SE.
Nebeker along with the Bellewood Retirement Center and the Sammamish quilting group, the Sew Whats, kicked things off Saturday, July 21 with a four-hour galleria display. The event acted as a fundraiser for anyone who wanted to provide donations. The Sew Whats are also auctioning off a quilt through Aug. 19. All proceeds from the $5 ticket sales will go to American Hero Quilts.
"When you see the pictures of soldiers … and they're on that gurney getting medavaced, they're wrapped up in this 'hug' from America and that's what they're holding on to — it sends me straight over," said Lynn Adams, a program assistant who help organize the event at Bellewood.
The quilts, which all have the words, "You are a hero, thank you," added to them are made by people old and young from far and wide. Nebeker said World War II veterans on down to 11-year-old Girl Scouts have constructed them. The final touches are added on Vashon Island, then they are shipped to Atlanta by Mile High Logistics, before being sent off to Afghanistan.
For Bellewood resident Helen Sabin, viewing the quilts Saturday was extra special. A veteran of World War II, she served in the U.S. Coast Guard as a communications specialist from 1943-1945.
"It's just beautiful, I don't know how they do it all," said the 89-year-old.
Sabin said there wouldn't be anything more special than to receive one of the quilts when in combat overseas. "It would be super, really," she said. "It would be something from home."
VIEW THE QUILTS
Bellewood Retirement Center
3710 Providence Point Drive SE
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., seven days a week
July 21 - Aug. 19
$5 quilt raffle available
Sue Nebeker describes quilt designs to a group, viewing the display at the Bellewood Retirement Center.
Navy ROTC students from Liberty High School present the colors Saturday at the Bellewood Retirement Apartments. From left are Dareck Girard, Joey Tredway, Cody Hutton and Chris Johnson.
A thank you letter from an injured solider who received a quilt.
Contact Issaquah Reporter Assistant editor Kevin Endejan at email@example.com or 425-391-0363, ext. 5054.