Women salute military service with quilts in red, white and blue

Group’s hand-stitching helps keep veterans warm




With a sense of patriotic pride, a group of women crafted quilts in red, white and blue.

After being on display at the upcoming Columbiana Fair, the quilts will be given to Vietnam veterans.

Cleo Dietrich is the quilt coordinator at Disciples Christian Church, where the group made six quilts. Two other red, white and blue quilts were made by Dottie Rogers and Rosemary Gnagy of Canfield Presbyterian Church.

The quilts will be blessed during a dedication ceremony at 10 a.m. Sunday at Disciples Christian, 565 Boardman-Canfield Road, by interim Pastor Sharon Kiesel, who is a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army and Army Reserve.

Dietrich said Disciples Christian quilters have engaged in the activity since 1962. “The quilts were made and sold, and the money was contributed to missions,” Dietrich said. The quilting group also does

outside quilting projects for payment, with funds benefiting the church and supporting missions.

The group makes patchwork quilts that are made from a quilt top, layer of batting and backing cloth.

Dietrich said the quilts will be displayed in the Arts and Crafts Building at the Columbiana County Fair, which runs from July 28 to Aug. 3 in Lisbon.

In September, the red, white and blue quilts will be given to Vietnam War veterans. That will be in conjunction with the exhibit of The Moving Wall from Sept. 11 to 15 at the Columbiana County Fairgrounds. The replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., is especially poignant to Sharen M. Cope, a Columbiana Fair director who supervises the arts and crafts area.

She said the names of two of her classmates from Austintown High School class of 1962 are listed on the wall — Charles Brown and James Prommersberger, — both of whom were killed in that war.

Cope said the fair has recognized service to country the last five years. Purple Heart veterans were honored in 2010, first-responders in 2011, veterans of all conflicts in 2012 and 2013 and Vietnam veterans this year.

Dietrich said quilters plan to attend the presentation ceremony to meet and honor the recipients of the quilts.

“All of us know veterans or have family members who are veterans,” Dietrich said. “All of us are patriotic. ... We appreciate the military service of men and women,” she said. Using their quilting skills is their unique way to show their gratitude.

“Veterans need to be remembered,” Rogers said. “Giving the quilts makes it more personal,” Gnagy added.

Dietrich said Disciples Christian quilters made two quilts as a group. Dietrich, Sylvia Lipp, Alma Moore and Millie Persico made quilts individually. Others in the quilting group are Irene John, Margaret Lorimer, Susanne Mayerchak, Dorrie Merritt, Alice Proffit, Marlene and JoAnn Stefanski.

Quilts take about a month to make. The Disciples Christian quilters meet from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays year-round. Lorimer, who counts herself in the group but doesn’t quilt, calls herself the “go-fer” for lunch.

The women, who said they quilt, pray and eat, agreed that the effort was one that showed their patriotism and appreciation of service by military personnel.

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