MARINE CORPS BASE, HAWAII --
In the 11th century, quilting was used to hold padding under warriors’ armor. Today’s warriors don’t use quilts on the battlefield, instead the stitched cloths are viewed as iconic symbols of home.
A group of eight women from the Quilters of Eastern Washington State and Gayle Goodman, wife of Lt. Gen. John G. Goodman, commander, Marine Forces, Pacific, recently visited the Wounded Warrior Barracks on Marine Corps Base, Kaneohe Bay. They presented three handmade quilts to three recently, returned Marines. All three were injured in Iraq and are either waiting to return to their unit or go home for good.
“They recognized the sacrifices made by our young Marines, and they wanted to do something that very visibly demonstrated their appreciation to our wounded Marines,” said Mrs. Goodman about the quilters.
All the quilters are connected to the military through family ties or their own service.
“It’s good to know we have a lot of supporters out there,” said Lance Cpl. Matthew Reno, Houston native, and a quilt recipient. “It was really nice of those ladies to do this.”
To make one of these 70”x 90” quilts takes a bit of time. These ladies spent several sessions of four to six hours sewing the quilt scraps together. That’s just to finish one side. There’s still the filler fabric and backing fabric which takes a specialized sewing machine with a long arm and a few more hours to bring it all together, according to Mrs. Goodman.
“I appreciate the time they took to make these quilts for us,” said Lance Cpl. T.J. Cothran, New Orleans native and Wounded Warrior Marine quilt recipient. “I’m very thankful for their support.”
These supportive ladies made five more quilts which are on their way to the island, but Hawaii Quilters have donated more than 35 to the Wounded Warriors. Every bed in the barracks has a quilt draped over it.
These quilts should stay in good shape for a long time according to Mrs. Goodman. “They are washable and will last for at least 100 years,” she exclaimed.
A century down the road, Marines may still be fighting for freedom and those futuristic Marines will have quilts on their racks as long as quilters like these keep up the tradition.
“We are so fortunate that the quilters throughout the U.S. have made a difference for our wounded service men and women,” said Mrs. Goodman.