We are home safe after a busy San Diego trip. It still amazes me when we do these reunions – the emotions of our veterans. I never really know what to expect as this is only our third big veteran’s reunion. The organizers kept it really quiet and only the committee knew that all the veterans at the reunion would be getting a quilt.
When we walked into the banquet that night, we had our red vests on and the whole QOH crew was circled around one table. We stayed right there as we didn’t want to blow the surprise. We ate dinner first – tri-tip and salmon. What they didn’t tell us was it was both so when my plate arrived, I almost chocked. I just figured I wouldn’t eat then Flo came to my rescue and asked the waiter for a plate with just trip-tip – boy was I a happy camper.
After dinner, Jim, the Master of Ceremonies, said we have a special night planned for you and he introduced me but didn’t say what we did. I gave my little speech then told them I would be the SSG in charge and that we would be awarding each of them a quilt. It took all eight of us as we called 5 veterans up to the front at a time. I presented, the girls ran the quilts, and Louie took pictures.
The first veteran just broke into tears and the veteran next to him broke into tears – it just kept going like that. It didn’t matter that they knew they were getting quilts. The tears just kept flowing. They started giving me hugs and kisses. One guy said he was French so he gave me a kiss on each cheek.
I looked out into the crowd at one moment and there were cameras everywhere. Then I looked at some of the veteran’s faces – their faces were so strained trying to keep their emotions held back. After all the quilts were given out, they all wanted pictures with us. While we were taking pictures, some of the guys went out into the foyer and spread out with their quilts all along the wall. It was a site to behold. It even took me back when I walked out there. I said, “Wow, that’s a lot of quilts.” They must have stood like that for 10 minutes with their arms stretched out holding their quilts. The wives were coming up to us, hugging and thanking us – they were even crying.
As we got ready to head for our rooms we passed a veteran on a scooter. As I passed him he said, “Hey.” I went back to him and he had big tears in his eyes. He said, “When we came home nobody did this. They spit on us.” Then he handed me a $100 bill. When I walked back to the QOH crew and told them, they all went and thanked him. We then went upstairs to the hospitality room and the guys presented us with t-shirts and a cap from their ship. They all just kept passing us and saying thank you.
It was one very emotional night. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would say it was a 10.
Ladies and gentlemen – these quilts have become lifelines for so many. I will save some of the stories for our QOH Workshop. I’m so proud to have each one of you helping us to do this Mission. It’s so worth every hour we put in especially when you see what it does for so many. May we all continue to be blessed to sew and fill the need of our quilts.
Thank you to my crew – they are always organized and work their buns off to make us do a good job. Stay tuned for more adventures to come. We will have some up and coming new events we can all enjoy.
Another mission complete! God bless,