Women’s creations help troops stay warm
A group of Hallsville women are providing both emotional and physical warmth with the prayer quilts they make for active duty servicemen and women with ties to the Cowboy Church of Harrison County.
“These are prayer quilts,” said Sylvia Haskell, one of the women involved in their creation. “As we knot the ties that finish off the quilt we say a prayer, either silently or aloud, for the safety of the service member who will be receiving it.”
While the group is open to anyone who would like to participate, all the current quilters are women, and most are members of the church.
“We wanted to give back to the members of the military who put their lives on the line,” Haskell said. “It’s also a time of fun and fellowship for us.”
The group has completed three of what they refer to as their “service quilts” and have four more in various stages of construction. Most of the service quilts contain blocks of patriotic material, such as pictures of the flag or red, white and blue stripes. They usually try to incorporate some sort of image for the member’s specific branch of the service, such as planes for the Air Force or anchors for the Navy.
Although Haskell is an experienced quilter, some of the members had their first experience with the craft after joining the group.
“I had never quilted before,” said Mary Twomuly, who is now one of the most active members of the group. “However, I was retired and looking for a project I could put my heart into, and these service quilts just seemed what God was leading me to do.”
Twomuly said she quilts at home, as well as with the group, and has made quilts individually for family members as well as participating in the group projects at the church.
The reaction from service members receiving the quilts has been overwhelmingly positive, Haskell said.
“All we ask in return is that they send us a picture of them with the quilt,” Haskell said. “However, most of them have sent us letters telling us how much they appreciate our gift.”
Most of the recipients are children or grandchildren of church members. Shirley Mizell said her grandson, Justin Vaughn, was very glad to get the quilt. He is a graduate of White Oak High School and has served in the U.S. Air Force since 2008.
“He told me he feels blessed when he sleeps in the quilt, knowing he’s surrounded by the prayers of people who are invested in his well-being,” Mizell said.
Vaughn served one tour in the Middle East. He is currently stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base, but he will be returning to Afghanistan this summer, Mizell said.
Haskell said the group will continue to make the quilts as long as there are church members with relatives in the service who have yet to receive one.
“It’s a real labor of love for us,” Haskell said. “We’ll do it as long as the need is there.”