Southeast Missouri Woman Making Comfort Quilts for Fallen Soldiers
By: Amy Jacquin
A Benton, Missouri woman admits she's part of a cover-up regarding Iraq. With the cover being a "comfort quilt" sent to the families of military men and women killed during the war on terror.
It's a nationwide volunteer effort, with members in the Heartland.
"Whatever is in their heart, they can put on that block," explains Carol Messmer.
Carol pours her heart out into quilt blocks. Blocks she designs, signs, and sends off to other volunteers who turn them into quilts.
"It almost brings tears to your eyes," she says. "Sometimes it does. Even though you don't know the soldier, you know they gave their life for my freedom and for your freedom."
It's called Marine Comfort Quilts because it was started by a Marine's Mom in St Louis. But it quickly gained steam to include all branches of service. There are almost 600 members nationwide. People who sign-up for various duties, from making blocks to actually putting the quilt together.
And the organization could use more help. At one point, they had more than 40,000 blocks needed to make quilts in memory of each fallen service man and woman.
"It's also therapy for me," adds Carol.
Carol is a military mom herself. Her daughter and son-in-law are captains with the 82nd Airborne in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. And her husband served in Vietnam.
With every block, she's reminded of her blessings and imagines the grief of families left behind.
"It's powerful stuff," Carol nods. "Very powerful."
She recently received a thankful email from the wife of a fallen soldier, saying her teenaged son held everything inside until the day the quilt arrived.
"It opened something within his heart that had not been opened, and he sat there and cried," she says. "He held the quilt and just cried. Even though it was so emotional, she said she now knows he can start that healing process."
Another soldier's wife describes why the organization calls it Comfort Quilts.
"When I feel down, I go to his room, I get his quilt out and I wrap-up in it, and I feel better."
Anyone who can cut or sew a straight line can join the Comfort Quilt effort. Designs can be simple or extravagant, all building blocks toward healing.
You can still help, even if you don't sew. Just donate supplies, gift cards for supplies, or postage. It takes between $65 to $100 per quilt for the lining, backing, and postage.
You can get more information at www.marinecomfortquilts.us. Or contact Carol Messmer at 573-545-3257, 204 CO Hwy 247, Benton MO 63736.
By the way, Carol is allowing all the veterans at the Missouri Veterans Home in Cape Girardeau to sign blocks. Each one is used in a different quilt. That happens March 29th at 2 p.m., and she'd appreciate some help.