(WHTM) — Doris Fahnestock feels at home behind her beloved sewing machine.

“It’s a Singer featherweight portable,” she said. “I’ve had it since 1953 when my husband was in the service. He bought me it one year for Christmas and I’ve made a lot of things since then.”

In 2016, the Mt. Holly Springs woman got the idea to turn her passion into a way to honor those she was passionate about. Her husband had served in the Navy, so she founded Doris’s Quilters for Vets with a goal to make 25 quilts in four weeks to gift to local service members.

“And the one woman said, ‘that woman’s gotta be crazy…you can’t do 25 quilts in four weeks,” Fahnestock said. “In four weeks we had 27 quilts made.”

From there, the project has grown and so has the legion of Doris’s Quilters. With each stitch and swatch, they create a common thread of appreciation. They’ve given away more than a thousand quilts to veterans in all 50 states.

“Sometimes they get tears in their eyes, as do we because they’re so appreciative and can’t believe somebody would be willing to make something for them,” Fahnestock said.

Karen Shirey has been with Fahnestock from the beginning. Her husband is a retired colonel from Carlisle Barracks.

“Frequently they’ll tear up and say ‘thank you,” Shirey said through tears. “That is our reward.”

They find the veterans through nursing homes, VFW’s and VA hospitals, hoping to give them a physical reminder that their service is not forgotten.

“We try to get a flannel…the flannel makes it nice and warm so they can use it in the wintertime,” Fahnestock said.

Fahnestock knows her quilts are warmly received. And she knows they are well loved.

“We gave it to a man and he was in his 90’s,” she said. “He lasted six months and we know he used that blanket for those six months.”

Fahnestock’s husband, Max, passed away in 2020.

And while her husband is no longer with her, Fahnestock’s mission will live on as long as she is able to sit behind her Singer.

Fahnestock and her husband, Max

“I think it’s important for us to keep on going as long as we can,” she said.

Doris’s Quilters for Vets is always looking for donations to help them purchase supplies. They’re also looking for crafty people to join their quilting cause and for veterans who would like to receive a quilt. For more information, call 717-486-5831.