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Houlton veterans presented Quilts of Valor

HOULTON, Maine — It has been more than 25 years since Richard Sherwood of Houlton retired from the U.S. Navy.

The retired surface warfare chief enlisted in the military in 1969 and embarked on a career that saw him serve in Vietnam and on eight Naval ships before he retired in 1993.

While he left the military behind, the memories of those days weren’t so easily discarded.

With the assistance of a foundation that provides service members and veterans touched by war with quilts, however, he has found healing and comfort in fabric and thread.

Sherwood was one of two area veterans to receive a quilt from the Quilts of Valor Foundation during the Friends and Needles Quilt Guild Quilting Show in Houlton, which took place on Friday, Aug. 24, and Saturday, Aug. 25.

Joe Hughes, a retired U.S Navy chief petty officer from Houlton, also was presented with a quilt from the organization.

“I can’t tell you how appreciative I am to receive this,” Sherwood said on Saturday, adding that he learned he was getting the quilt just the week before. “It gives me comfort. I wrapped myself up in this last night and it gave me such a sense of peace.”

The Quilts of Valor Foundation was founded in 2003 by Catherine Roberts of Seaford, Delaware, whose son, Nat, was deployed to Iraq, according to the organization’s web site. The first quilt was awarded in November 2003 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to a young soldier from Minnesota who had lost his leg in Iraq. Since then, quilters across the nation have been contributing quilts to the organization. Donna Brookings is the state coordinator for the Quilts of Valor Foundation. She presented quilts to both Sherwood and Hughes.

Brooking said on Saturday that it gives her “tremendous pleasure” to present the quilts, and was honored to see Sherwood wrap himself in his full-length white quilt patterned with red stars and stripes of various shades of blue, black and gray. Hughes also received a full length red, white and blue bordered quilt with a Bald Eagle flying above two small U.S. flags in the center.

“This is a great organization and we are trying to distribute quilts to as many of those who can be assisted by this organization as we can,” she said. “We are also looking for people to donate money or fabric to support the organization. Every little bit helps.”

For more information on Maine Quilts of Valor, visit their Facebook page. For information on the Quilts of Valor Foundation, log on to their website.

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