By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News
On a brisk, fall afternoon, seven Tulalip women gathered behind the Hibulb Cultural Center, a place where they often met over the past several months. Rae Anne Gobin, Lena Jones, Sherry Dick, Benita Rosen, Edith Johnny and Sara Andres continued the annual tradition of quilting blankets for Tulalip Veterans, making this their third consecutive year honoring those who served in the military.
Each member of the quilting bee has created one quilt for the project every year with the goal of blanketing all of Tulalip’s veterans. As they arranged their quilts for a number of photos, the quilters all shared a certain excitement with one another as they admired each other’s final product. Ooh’s and ahh’s followed by compliments about color schemes and patterns were heard as each quilter proudly showcased her work to the group. Seven beautiful red, white and blue quilts were completed after months of hard work and the quilters couldn’t wait to gift them to seven lucky local veterans at the annual Hibulb Cultural Center Veterans Day event.
“This is our third year sewing quilts, bringing a total of twenty-one quilts,” expresses Tulalip Quilter, Rae Anne Gobin. “For 2018, the Tulalip Veteran Quilt group took the challenge of sewing the Hollow Star pattern by Krista Moser, who designed, taught and long-armed the quilts. The pattern was full of Y seams that presented challenges until we began to master them. Each one of us took the time to select our fabric and put our love in each of these quilts. We hope each recipient finds the quilt comforting.”
The Tulalip Veteran Quilt Project has been funded through the Tulalip Foundation since their first year. Around this time last year, the Foundation decided to honor the ladies for their loving efforts by selecting the group as their Giving Tuesday recipients.
“Giving Tuesday is the response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” says Tulalip Foundation Executive Director, Nicole Sieminski. “It’s an idea of giving back to the community after all of the consumerism over Thanksgiving weekend. We chose the Tulalip Veterans Quilt Project this year and raised almost $1,700, covering all of the supplies for the quilting. We love supporting community driven projects. It’s always great to see the amazing work these ladies do and it’s such a great opportunity to support our veterans.”
The ladies presented their quilts to Veterans Ronald Burns, Peter Henry Sr., David Fryberg Sr., Cyrus Williams and Leonard James in a moving moment during the museum’s Honoring Our Veterans event on November 11. Each veteran displayed youthful exuberance, joyful smiles and tears of happiness when accepting the beautiful blankets from their makers. Everybody in attendance of the event were wowed by the patterns of the quilts and gave both the quilters and the veterans a standing ovation after the gifting. Veterans Ernest Millholland and Wesley Charles Jr. were unfortunately unable to attend the event, but the Tulalip Honor Guards will be sure they receive their quilts on behalf of the ladies.
“We enjoy doing this work and giving back to our community, making sure our veterans are recognized for protecting us and our country,” expresses Rae Anne. “We know our veterans put their lives on hold while serving and helped protect us to keep our freedom. We care for and love our Tulalip veterans and want to honor them for their service and let them know, you are not forgotten and will always be remembered.”