Published On: Fri, Sep 22nd, 2017

Boca Quilters Honor Veterans With Patriotic-Themed Quilts

By Evelyn Ross 

Comfort and healing filled the lobby of the Delray Medical Center recently, as a local organization presented hand-sewn quilts and pillowcases to five war veterans for their service in the armed forces and their community.

“These men protected our country and it’s now an opportunity for the hospital and Quilts of Valor to honor them for their bravery and service,” said Diane Paquin-Provost, chairwoman of the Boca Raton chapter of the Quilts of Valor Foundation as she kicked off the ceremony.

Each quilt was uniquely handmade by members who did not know the recipients but were aware of the sacrifices each had made. The veterans served in the Korean War, World War II and the Vietnam War.

After a brief introduction of each veteran, the creator of the quilt presented it to him. They held it up for a photo then the creator, as a tradition, draped the vet with the quilt.

A sixth veteran was absent.

“I’m very honored and touched. Thank you so much,” Ron Price, a U.S. Navy seaman, and Vietnam veteran said as his quilt was draped around his shoulders.  “I’m blessed, honored, and grateful, for this quilt, and the chance to meet other veterans who volunteer as well.”

The quilts represent healing. To the creators, it’s more than just cutting and sewing, but a journey to creating something beautiful. The founder of the organization, Katherine Roberts, discovered this after watching the effect a quilt she made had on her son after his return from the war in Iraq. His shift in demeanor after receiving a colorful quilt inspired her to continue creating, eventually inviting friends, and expanding the outreach program to more than 200 members today.

This event meant a lot to volunteer Russell Sultenfuss, 69, of Boca Raton.

After graduating Field Artillery basic school, Sultenfuss was stationed in Oklahoma briefly before he was sent to Germany. The U.S. Army veteran worked with artillery and weapons from 1969-1972.

While his transition back home after the war was a rough one, he found comfort in helping those in his surrounding communities.

He began volunteering at Delray Medical Center about a year ago and does pet therapy with his dog Annie.

“My dog brings a smile to everyone she encounters and helps me get out,” Sultenfuss said.

Other honorees were Charles Carroll, 104, a former military police officer during WWII, Mel Fishman, a Morse code communicator in the Korean War and Julio Mastrovito, 86, a Navy flight deck personnel in the Korean War.

While the Quilts of Valor Foundation has made and distributed more than 167,000 quilts throughout the United States, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and France since 2003, this was the first event held in Delray Beach.

To request a quilt from the Quilt of Valor Foundation, visit QOVF.org and click on the bottom right of the homepage. To make a donation to the Boca Raton chapter, send checks to Quilt Guild by the Sea, P.O. Box 64, Boca Raton, FL 33429.

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