Virginia Memorial Quilt Project

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On Friday, June 21, 2013, many of the Volunteers of the Virginia Memorial Quilt Project arrived on time at the Battlefield VFW Post 9808 in Mechanicsville, VA. Our mission was to decorate the room where the 7th Annual Celebration of the Life of A Virginia Soldier would be held the next day. Everything went according to plans and the room was ready in short order.

On Saturday, June 23, 2012…there was much anticipation on what the day would bring. We had planned a program that we hoped and prayed the families would find comfort in the events of the day.

The program started at 12:00 noon with a welcome by Chairman Debbie Elam.

Robert Ike, Jr., Chesapeake City Councilman called for the Posting of the Colors by the VFW Post 9808 Color Guard and then Robert lead in the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Roll Call of Families Present was honorably announced by Brenda Ike of Chesapeake and Debbie Elam while Jean Gannon and Karen Wooten presented each families with their program.

Gold Star Mother, Daina Kubasak of Rocky Mount, Virginia shared her journey through the grief of the loss of her son, Corporal Jared W. Kubasak, who gave his life for Freedom on December 12, 2005.  Her touching words on how receiving a quilt from the Virginia Memorial Quilt Project helped her to use Jared’s clothing to make quilts for friends and family.  She was such an inspiration and her message not to discard clothing of a loved one so soon after their passing when at a future date, you may use that cloth to make a quilt that will comfort and remind all of that loved one.

Debbie Elam presented Certificates of Appreciation to the Battlefield VFW Post 9808 for co-hosting the 7 years of the Celebration of the Life of A Virginia Soldier and preparing the entire lunch for today’s event. 

A Certificate of Appreciation was also presented to the Virginia Patriot Guard who greeted our Gold Star Families upon arrival to today’s event.  Of those present included a Gold Star Mother, Deborah Worrell of Virginia Beach, Jack Olmstead Gold Star Family Friend of Virginia Beach, Dick Linn-Gold Star Father of Midlothian, and Brenda and Robert Ike of Virginia Beach.

Next on the program was the Reading of Names of Our Virginia Heroes. As our readers read the 228 names and rank of each it was truly a time of reflection and remembrance that each name died for the freedoms we all must cherish and appreciate. Our readers were Jean Gannon and Karen Wooten, Julie Cogsdale and Diane Middleton, who is a Gold Star Mother, Tracy Serendi and Robert Ike and Brenda Ike and Debbie Elam.  One thing that we are committed to do each year is to speak the names of each fallen hero. Their family may not be present, but this is our way to remember them at our Annual Celebration of their life. Their families will never be the same, but we hope that by reading their name each year, Together…We Will Not Forget.

Dr. Nick Elam gave the Blessing of the Lunch and the VFW served a wonderful lunch to us all.

After lunch, Debbie Elam read the names of each of the Volunteer present to be recognized by the families. Some of our Volunteers are new to the Project and some have been with us for 6 years. The families showed their appreciation with applause.

The Virginia Chapter of Honor and Remember represented by Brenda Ike, Robert Ike, Jr. performed the beautiful presentation ceremony of the Honor and Remember Flag to the Yale Family of Burkeville, Virginia in honor of Corporal Jonathan T. Yale of Burkeville, Virginia who gave his life on April 22, 2008.  Brenda also shared the overview of the Honor and Remember Program giving families contact information for the Honor and Remember Program.

Our next speaker brought a message of exceptional care and love to not only the families, but to the volunteers and the members of the VFW who were present. Barbara Vonada who is retired from the United States Army and now works as a civilian to the Chief of Ordnance at Fort Lee Army Base in Virginia.  Barbara is also a quilter so she brought a message to all of love of Country, patriotism and how much Gold Star Families mean to our Great Nation. 

Blackburn Booth and SAR (Search and Rescue) German Shepherd Roxy reviewed Roxy’s accomplishments since their visit with us last year. Roxy is now a Certified Therapy Dog and makes visits to the recovering heroes at the Hampton Roads Veterans Hospital weekly.

In closing the entire group stood and read the Irish Blessing together. This brought an end to the program but many families and volunteers remained to visit and spend time getting to know each other.  I noticed that a Gold Star Mother, Diane Middleton was wiping tears from her eyes and I went over to check on her.  She told me that the Irish Blessing was what she read at the end of her son’s funeral – Corporal William Kyle Middleton who gave his life for our Freedom on November 22, 2010.  A very long and tight hug followed with tears flowing down both of our cheeks.

After the clean up, I took my mother, Estelle Davis who is the Vice-Chairman of the Virginia Memorial Quilt Project  home and we talked and relaxed for a few minutes before I headed back to Powhatan.   You know how it is when your mother looks at you with a serious look and it changes to a wonderful, sweet smile. Well she pulled that one me and said…”I know it was a lot of hard work and you spent many hours planning and putting this program together with every detail from name tags, to place cards, to the selection of the speakers– but how do you think you will ever top this year?” We laughed and I said “to be honest, I am not sure, but if I try with all my heart, I am sure no one will be disappointed.”

Submitted by
Debbie Elam, Chairman


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