Every quilt has a story and a new chapter started today for three soldiers with the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Benning.
“It’s amazing,” Spc. Christopher Murray of Columbus said of his “Gold Sampler” quilt. “I can’t thank them enough for the time and the effort I know that goes into these. It means a lot.”
Quilts of Valor presented quilts to Murray, Spc. Joseph Edge and Sgt. Matthew Marshall during a program in Marshall Auditorium at McGinnis-Wickam Hall. All are recipients of the Purple Heart for injuries sustained while deployed. Since the Quilts of Valor Foundation started in 2003, more than 80,000 quilts have been presented to men and women who have served their country.
The quilts were stitched by members from Gwinnett Quilt of Valor Quilters of Lawrenceville, Ga., said Betsy Podriznik, a quilter for more than 23 years. “Quilters like to say every quilt has a story,” she said. “That story starts when it’s pieced and sewn, cut and sewn back together. As we sew, we give thanks to those who will be receiving it. The story of a quilt becomes your story.”
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Murray, a 2008 graduate of Shaw High School in Columbus, said he was injured after a roadside bomb exploded in Kandahar, Afghanistan, hurling a .50 caliber machine gun against his face. He arrived at Fort Benning last year for treatment of a traumatic brain injury. Murray, 23, said he’s thankful for the support from the quilt makers. “People say they thank us for what we do,” he said. “We thank them for their support.”
For Edge, a quilt called “The Fence” will give him and his wife, Leigh, something to hold onto for years. “It is a very, very, great thing,” Edge said. “I was surprised when I found out. After I was in the room, they told me.”
Edge is at the Warrior Transition Battalion for treatment of traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress after he was pulled from his bunk. “My health is going along pretty decently,” he said. “Being here has helped out a lot.”
Podriznik said it takes about two weeks or longer to put together a colorful quilt. Most pieces are 60-inches-by-70-inches laptop-type covers.
She was with two other quilters at the ceremony, Sybil Lancour and Joanne Jones. Together they have about 39 years of experience, with Podriznik leading the trio with more than 23 years of stitching. There are about 1,000 quilters across the nation making covers for soldiers.
“When you hold a Quilt of Valor, we hope you will feel the stitches,” Podriznik said. “All of these pieces represent the diversity of our nation coming together.”