Senior group creates patriotic quilts for troops
By Sarah Wojcik
Posted June 18, 2014
SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Since June 9, a hallway near the lobby of the Shelby Township Senior Center has hosted a colorful display featuring 26 patriotic quilts handmade by the Shelby Senior Stitchers group for a nonprofit project based out of Oxford called Miracle Quilts.
The bright reds, whites and blues grabbed the attention of many senior citizens entering the building for various programs at the senior center. Many stepped into the hallway to admire the quilts that have a professional yet homey and comforting look.
“These weren’t here when I was here yesterday,” said Edna Michalski June 10, looking over the display and pointing out her favorite quilts to her friend Lynda Latson. “They’re beautiful.”
Both women came to the senior center Tuesday morning for an exercise program.
Miracle Quilts is a project that collects handmade quilts to disperse among various U.S. military facilities, including hospitals, medical centers and retirement communities, as well as overseas in Germany and Afghanistan. It was founded in March 2009 to honor the service and sacrifice of Pfc. Joseph A. Miracle, of Ortonville, who was killed in action July 5, 2007, after 35 days in Afghanistan.
Jo Hearon, a member of the Shelby Senior Stitchers, forged the connection between Miracle Quilts and the senior citizen sewing group. She heard about the project from the township Veterans of Foreign Wars in the fall.
“I play bingo over there and they knew I was a quilter, so they asked if my sewing group was interested in making quilts that go to all the hospitals,” Hearon said.
The group, consisting of about six ladies who meet at 12:30 p.m. Wednesdays at the senior center, immediately adopted the project. They have been working on the quilts since early October.
“It isn’t about us. It’s about the wounded soldiers and how we can support them and pay tribute for the sacrifice they have made,” Hearon said.
She added that she was pleasantly surprised at the number of quilts the group was able to produce.
“These aren’t things that just take a few minutes to make. These are things that just take hours and hours,” Shelby Township Senior Center Director Amy Drake said. “(The Shelby Senior Stitchers) are a generous group of kindhearted ladies.”
The group also annually makes quilts for the Samaritan House, a nonprofit food pantry based in Washington Township that serves the surrounding area, including Shelby Township, and Project Night Night, which assists homeless children. They also donate items to the senior center’s annual craft show.
“I’m so proud to have this group representing the senior center so well and saying thank you to the men and women who serve our country, particularly those who have been injured in the line of duty,” Drake said.
Drake said the quilts would be up through the end of this week and possibly next week.
At press time, Miracle Quilts founder Carole Carroll said last year, the group displayed 238 quilts at Independence Village, a senior living facility in Oxford, and that this year, there would be more at the June 14 show.
After the show, Carroll said she would ship the quilts out to military facilities.
“They just love them. Occasionally, I will get a thank-you note from one of the recipients,” Carroll said. “It’s heartrending how much they appreciate what we’ve done.”
For more information about Miracle Quilts, visit www.desertangel.org/quilts. For more information about the Shelby Senior Stitchers, call the senior center at (586) 739-7540.
About the author
Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik covers Shelby Township and Utica for the Shelby-Utica News. Sarah has worked for C & G Newspapers since 2013 and attended Oakland University. She won three Excellence in Journalism awards from the Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
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