ROXTON — Sewing machines hum quietly and conversation is lively at the Roxton Community Center as women work on quilts to honor the men and women who served in the United States military, preserving freedom enjoyed today across America.

Although quilt wrapping presentations have been limited the past year because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the group of about 15 women, who make up the Red River Valley Quilts of Valor, meet regularly and work from home on their gifts of honor.

As a result, more than a dozen quilts, some finished and others with tops pieced together, waiting to be quilted, are in the group’s inventory, the result of a year’s worth of time-consuming piecing and quilting.

“We’ve got plenty of quilts, and now we are searching for people to give them to, and a time and place for our quilt wrappings once we can return to some kind of normalcy,” said Regina Harris Holcomb, past president and one of the founding members of the local Quilts of Valor group.

Organized in 2018 as a circle of the Red River Valley Quilt Guild, the Quilts of Valor group, in normal times meets a couple of times each month on the second Wednesday of the month in Roxton, and the fourth Wednesday at Sew Always, 1709 Clarksville St. in Paris, owned by Dee Ferguson.

“We use our meetings to work about four hours at a time on the quilts and to keep ourselves organized, and then we take our work home with us,” Holcomb said about the group’s ability to turn out quilts.

Holcomb said a group of women from the national Quilts of Valor made a presentation to the Red River Valley Quilt Guild in June 2018, explaining how to organize and how to make presentations.

“Our members thought it was a worthwhile thing to do, and we got ourselves organized and began making quilts,” Holcomb said.

As she pinned blocks of fabric together before sewing them, Sharon Streety, also a charter member of the group, talked about the fellowship she enjoys when the group meets, and why she believes the work of the Quilts of Valor group is important.

“It’s such a worthy cause,” Streety said, noting that nationally many homeless veterans are served by Quilts of Valor. “When you think about the number of homeless veterans who have risked their lives. We owe them a lot. It is such a little thing to do when you think about all they have done for us.”

Since its organization, the group has honored almost a dozen veterans to include William Henry Bryan, Naomi Radke, George Williams, Wesley Graum, John Harrington, Doug Weiberg, Robert T. Love, Tom Archer, Dr. Josie Williams, Dennis Nixon and Eugene Simmons.

In addition to Holcomb and Streety, Quilts of Valor members include current president Kariena Brosten, Jame Hensley, Jan Rachor, Joy Lowrey, Pauline Burton, Suzie Guymon, Drethia Parsons, DinahZehetner, Annette Jones, Eve Graf, Arlene Hatcher and Zeta Warmke.

Mary Madewell is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6976 or at mary.madewell@theparisnews.com.

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