Thursday, April 17, 2014

The QuiltWest tribute ... One year later

One year ago today, 12 first responders gave their lives in an attempt to save others in the small town of West, Texas.

QuiltWest was born of a desire to give whatever small gift I could to comfort the family members of these men.  I wanted to wrap them with quilts and the warmth of knowing other people felt their loss.  I knew I couldn't do it alone:  In all, 18 ladies from across the nation have opened their hearts and given of themselves to make 12 quilts for the families.  These quilts have taken us on a journey of love, compassion, relationships and hope.

I grew up the daughter of a first responder.  You can learn a little more about my mother's legacy as a paramedic and public servant here and hereShe also loved quilts and quilting, and understood the treasure of a gifted quilt.  I lost her just one month before the events in West, and throughout the project, I carried in my heart a quiet dedication to her.

The families who live in West will receive their quilts today.  My heart broke when I realized work and family schedules simply wouldn't flex to allow me to deliver them personally, but my contact with the City of West has put me at ease.  The fire chief has graciously agreed to pass them along and to see that the remaining quilts are sent to the out-of-town families who couldn't make the trip for the memorial gathering. 

As QuiltWest winds down, it's extremely hard to put my emotion into words.  If you'd like, you can read an excerpt of my letter to the families here.  It's really my best attempt to explain all this.   Thankfully, I have many, many photos of this wonderful journey and the lovely ladies who stitched their love into every quilt.

I truly hope you'll check out the QuiltWest Collection on Flickr for more photos of the quilts, the process and their makers.

If you'd like to learn more about QuiltWest, check out these previous blog postings:

Calling all quilters!  QuiltWest for First Responders' Families - April 25, 2013
Update: QuiltWest - Quilts for West, Texas first responders' families - May 7, 2013
Tutorial:  Basic Jelly Roll Quilt - QuiltWest - May 21, 2013
Today's Photo Journal:  Over the QuiltWest Hump - October 21, 2013

Our love and prayers remain with the families of West, Texas -- all the families of that community -- as they take time today to look back in tribute...and forward with hope.  May God's blessings be with you.