Most Viewed Stories
Sewing for soldiers
When Glenn County 4-H and volunteers started two years ago to sew a few personal comforts for US military personnel they never realized how rewarding it would become.
Last year, Willows and Orland's best seamstresses made 20 of the 80 "gurney quilts" collected in the North State and provided to Travis Air Force Base to give to soldiers coming back from Operation Enduring Freedom with injuries.
On Saturday, volunteers made more than 100 pillowcases that will go with soldiers deployed to Afghanistan in January.
"I'm very proud of what Glenn County has been able to accomplish," said Deborah Storz, the Glenn County 4-H quilt leader, who organized Saturday's Sew for Soldiers event at Willows Memorial Hall.
Two years ago, Glenn County volunteers made 20 of the 70 quilts donated.
"Glenn County makes a huge percentage of the quilts that are given to injured soldiers," Storz said. "It's amazing."
Women sewing for soldiers headed off to war is not a new concept.
Women's domestic work, including sewing, took on new meaning during the Revolutionary and Civil wars when their labors were destined to help soldiers who fought on the battlefield.
Women traditionally made clothing, uniforms, blankets and other comforts.
During World War II and Korea, women knitted socks and scarfs to help soldiers brave the cold winters in battle.
When a Willows VFW Auxiliary member lost her husband to illness in 2010, he still had a lap quilt given to him when he left Vietnam 45 years ago.
"It's amazing how many soldiers will hang on to these gifts," said Cindy Holley of the Glenn County Veterans' Services office. "They are treasures."
On Saturday, Glenn County 4-H club members and other volunteers sewed pillowcases for a Fort Hood, Texas, Army company headed to Afghanistan in January.
Matthew Graham, of Orland, is with Fort Hood's 2-8 Cavalry, B Company.
"We hope to have 152 pillowcases made for the entire unit by Christmas," Storz said.
In addition to the pillowcases, 10 finished quilts have been made for the wounded soldiers this year, and 10 quilt tops are ready to be completed.
"Next year, we really hope to improve upon this," Storz said. "We plan to keep it going as long as we are at war."
Like the pillowcases, the quilts are all in red, white and blue patriotic colors.
The Sew for Soldiers project Saturday was funded by a $1,000 donation from Field of Dreams, and used to purchase fabric and materials.
The organization was founded by Tom Dermody of Williams to provide disabled children and children of veterans an opportunity to enjoy fishing or hunting in the North State.
The organization also provides hunting opportunities for veterans.
"Field of Dreams was very generous to help with this project," said Holly. "They deserve to be recognized."
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Women's Auxiliary is also involved in the project.
Several volunteers on Saturday learned about the event at Friday's bingo at Memorial Hall, which was hosted by the VFW and Auxiliary.
"I thought I would come down and help," said Mary Daniels of Willows, who helped cut fabric. "I didn't have much to do at home, and this was a chance to do something nice for our soldiers."
JoAnn Knight of Glenn also just learned about the event on Friday and came to Willows to iron fabric.
"This sounded like a good thing to do," Knight said. "I like good causes and am glad I could help out."
The daylong event had many volunteers who stayed for the duration or came and went throughout the day.
Storz said some of the Sew for Soldiers quilts and pillowcases will be on display at the Glenn County Fair in May.