Westport Lions Roar
By Bob Reddick and Donna Easter
Nine of the 17 ladies who now make up the local chapter of Quilts of Valour
The mission for the ladies that form the local chapter of the Quilts of Valour is to ensure that injured Canadian Forces members are recognized for their service and commitment to our country. They give this support through the presentation of quilts to comfort our past and present Canadian Forces members.
It is a privilege for Westport Lions Club to financially help local organizations such as the Quilts of Valour. Donna Easter, regional representative, writes:
Why Quilts of Valour?
Quilts of Valour is a Canadian organization, working through an all-volunteer network of people, which provides comfort to military personnel who are recovering from wounds received in the service of Canada. Some of these wounds are obvious and some are not.
The Westport group started in March 2017 and has grown from an initial meeting of four members to what is now a thriving group of seventeen members. We make quilts to give away to our military and our vets who need support as they manage their way back to what we take for granted as “normal “in our day-to-day life.
I have had the honour of interacting with many servicemen and servicewomen since becoming involved in the Quilts of Valour Canadian Society two years ago after I heard the following story:
“A vet had returned from his third tour in Afghanistan and went to his basement refusing to come out. He remained there for two years – a cocoon – protected from harm. Aid workers visited and made it known to a quilting friend what was happening in this case. The quilt maker friend then took this man a quilt. Its label had on it the twelve names of those who had worked on this quilt. He could not believe that he had so many people in his corner and he began his return to the world”.
I will not make the claim that a simple, colourful quilt is the answer to recovery from injury, but in some cases, it has made a difference. Maybe allowing even a little light into an otherwise dark world is the answer to mending a broken body or soul.
Having made several public presentations to vets in Westport, Brockville, and Kingston, I have seen the respect with which is immediately evident in the audience for that vet. I also hear the positive remarks about the beauty of the quilts I am delivering. On each occasion I am grateful that I could be a small part of this important event – both for the vets and their families.
There have been several private presentations of quilts and deliveries of quilts to friends of wounded military who will act on our behalf. Some of our recipients are not ready to talk to the public. They are dealing privately with their injuries and often it is through letters and emails that we know how much our gifts have impacted their recovery. The following is one of those:
“On Feb. 1st, 2017, I was very surprised when I received my quilt…I was instantly humbled by this gesture of kindness.
Since completing three tours in Afghanistan, I have become a different person. It is hard for me to go outside in public. It is very difficult to interact and trust other people – constantly vigilant as if something bad will happen. It is a continuous challenge for me to overcome these anxieties and thoughts. Taking small steps each day, it’s a battle that I am still dealing with.
This gift has helped me in fighting that battle.
I feel that these quilts offer invaluable reminders to each of their owners. For me, it reminds me that there are people out there that are loving and caring. There are people out there that I can trust. I am not forgotten and there is purpose to the sacrifices I have made. This quilt represents a greater good. It renews my drive and hope in life. It shows my seven-year-old son the power of giving. It gives me purpose.
I will cherish this gift forever. Thank you”
Did you watch the Invictus Games? How can you not be moved by such courage and resilience? How can you not be grateful to have these quality people in your life and the life of your country? I am honoured to help in any small way I can and for now, a quilt will do.
. . .
This past weekend was a very busy time for the Westport Lions Club. On Saturday, December 2, the club handed out Christmas cakes at the Lions’ den to seniors in our community. This coming Saturday, Lion members will distribute Christmas cakes to the seniors that were unable to pick up their cake.
On Sunday, December 3rd, the Westport Lions Club and the local food bank volunteers put on a delicious Christmas dinner for the patrons of the food bank. Many thanks to Jeannette Harper for her hard work in preparing the food to feed more than 70 people. The club, with the help of an annoyous donor, provided the food, and food bank volunteers provided the gifts and invited Santa Claus to attend. Watching the childrens’ joy in seeing Santa was definitely the hightlight of the evening.