HUMMELSTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – Veterans returning from the battlefield often struggle to reenter society. Suicide, addiction, and divorce are all too common. But a group of women, both here and across the country, are working hard to make that return home a soft landing.
Daniel Fink, a Marine, spent over two years in Vietnam, earning a Medal of Valor and a Purple Heart. He’s about to receive another honor: a quilt of valor.
The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing quilts of valor.
At Anne Holt’s studio in Hummelstown, a different kind of army gets to work on the stitching of these quilts.
“We get together on the first Friday of every month and we make quilts of valor,” Holt said.
It’s all hands on deck and on sewing machines, a legion of women designing patterns, cutting the fabric, then piecing it back together.
“For a lot of veterans, this is the first time anyone has officially said thank you and welcome home,” Holt said.
The quilters have especially warm feelings for Vietnam veterans who got a chilly reception. Decades of pain and scars eased by quilts and hugs.
Hundreds of thousands of veterans nationwide have been so honored.
When it was Fink’s turn, there was no stopping years of pent up tears.
“There’s a lot of emotion that you tamp down for as long as you can. and when that dam bursts and the wall comes down. there’s a lot of emotion that flows,” Fink said.
Fink’s niece Linda Cook nominated him for a quilt of valor.
“I know most Vietnam vets don’t want to talk about it, deal with it, just want to try to repress everything,” she said. “It’s time for them to heal and have things like the quilts to help them with the healing.”
The women who do the stitching call them quilts, but to the vets who get them, they’re comforters.
The women do accept donations to buy the fabrics. They often buy it themselves. They proudly said we don’t buy the cheap stuff. These are high-quality fabrics for veterans.