Spokane resident and Gold Star grandma Barbara McCormick recently surprised 12 veterans in her neighborhood with handmade personalized quilts for each of them. The 83-year-old presented the Quilts of Valor at Stone Crest’s annual community picnic on Sept. 8. The quilt-making effort began in February when McCormick attended a group sewing class at the Garland Church in Spokane. Instructor Cherrie Takenaka showed students how to make personalized Quilts of Valor, which are a tribute that can be presented to service members and veterans who have been touched by war.
McCormick thought it would be a nice way to recognize her neighbors for their service, including her next-door neighbor Matthew DePauli, a 92-year-old Navy veteran who served in Word War II.
The quilts are also able to celebrate and honor the memory of her grandson Ryan Job, the first Navy Seal wounded in the Iraq War. In 2006, Job was blinded and received other extensive injuries while serving with Naval Seal team 3 as a Task Unit Bruiser in the Charlie Platoon. He died in 2009 at age 28, following complications from reconstructive surgery to his face and eyes. Prior to his death, Job had been a strong advocate for wounded veterans, and encouraged them to find ways to move forward with their lives. He traveled the country increasing awareness of veterans’ issues and raising money for Camp Patriot, a program that empowers veterans.
Some of his story has been shared in the books A Warrior’s Faith and American Sniper.
McCormick moved to Spokane in 2016. She met DePauli right away, who served as a Navy Fireman 1st Class from 1944 to 1946. Another neighbor was Guy Pace, a Navy veteran who served in Vietnam, who said that McCormick was one of the very few people who thanked him for his service and for helping provide freedom to our country. She went on to learn about 10 other veterans in her community and decided that quilts would be a lovely way to show her appreciation for their service.
To learn more about how to make Quilts of Valor, contact Garland Church at garlandQOVgroup@gmail.com. To learn more about the Quilts of Valor Foundation, visit www.qovf.org. To learn more about or support Camp Patriot, visit www.camppatriot.org/donations.