By Dena Waddell-Genz, Executive Assistant to CEO, MoboTrex
The Quilts of Valor Foundation began in 2003 with a dream, literally a dream. Founder Catherine Roberts’ son Nat was deployed in Iraq. Catherine’s dream was as vivid as real life.
She saw a young man sitting on the side of his bed in the middle of the night, hunched over. The permeating feeling was one of utter despair. She could see his war demons clustered around, dragging him down into an emotional gutter. Then, as if viewing a movie, she saw him in the next scene wrapped in a quilt. His whole demeanor changed from one of despair to one of hope and wellbeing. The quilt had made this dramatic change. The message of the dream was: Quilts = Healing.
The model appeared simple: assemble a volunteer team who would donate their time and materials to make a quilt. One person would piece the top and the other would quilt it. She saw the name for this special quilt. It was a Quilt of Valor.
What Are Quilts of Valor: From the beginning, Catherine Roberts had definite ideas about standards of excellence for the quilts. She knew they had to be a quality-made quilt, not a “charity quilt.” Quilts of Valor would be the civilian equivalent of a Purple Heart award. It had to be quilted, not tied, which meant hand or machine quilting. It would be “awarded,” not just passed out like magazines or videos. It would say unequivocally, “Thank you for your service, sacrifice, and valor” in serving our great nation in combat.
Nearly a year ago, I had the ultimate honor of nominating my dad, CSM Paul Brotherton and my two brothers, Major Jason Brotherton and Captain Promotable Devin Brotherton for a Quilt of Valor. This weekend in our hometown of Kahoka, MO, a small community of fabulous individuals came together to present the quilts to each of them. Humbly and proud, they each were wrapped in a quilt made with love, tears and utter emotion.
Paul enlisted in the Army in 1968. He has spent 5 years in active duty and 22 years in the Army Reserves. He served time in Vietnam and in Germany and many bases throughout the United States. Medals he received were – National Defense Service Medal – Vietnam Cross of Gallantry – Vietnam Campaign Medal – Combat Infantry Badge – Vietnam Service Medal – Air Medal and Expert Infantry Badge. Another achievement not to be over looked is that he was honored as Drill Sgt. Of the Year. He retired with the rank of Command Sergeant Major.
Jason enlisted in the Army Reserves in 2000 and did his basic training in Fort Sill, OK. Since that time he has been stationed in Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordon, Honduras and is currently stationed in North Carolina. Jason’s awards consist of the Bronze Star Medal with one oak leaf cluster – Meritorious Service Medal – Army Commendation Medal – Army Achievement medal – Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal – National Defense Service Medal – Afghanistan Campaign Medal – Iraq Campaign Medal – Global War on Terrorism Service Medal – Korea Defense Service Medal – Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal – Army Service Ribbon – Overseas Service Ribbon – Non-Article 5 NATO Medal and the Meritorious Unit Citation.
Devin enlisted in the Army in 2004 and has been in the reserves and is currently on active status. His rank is currently is Captain but is slated to be promoted to Major on November 1. His awards consist of Meritorious Service Medal – Army Commendation Medal – Army Achievement Medal – Army Civilian Service Achievement Medal – Army Reserve Components Medal – National Defense Service Medal – Global War on Terrorism Service Medal – Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal with Bronze Star – Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Bronze Hourglass – Non Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon – Army Service Ribbon and Overseas Training Ribbon.