Last month marked the 100th anniversary of Buena Vista University Buenafication Day. On Buenafication Day, which was held on April 23, students, faculty and staff dedicated their time to work on service projects on and off BV campus.
Freedom Quilts was absolutely thrilled and honored to participate as a Buenafication Day service project partner! As part of Buenafication Day, Freedom Quilts came to the BV campus where students helped put quilts together in honor of our fallen heroes.
Many, many thanks to BV University and to BV students who helped Freedom Quilts!
Did you know that this August will be the 15th Anniversary for Victory Motorcycle? Well, we’re excited to share that at this year’s Victory Rally in Spirit Lake, Iowa, the Freedom Quilts Victory Quilt will be on display. And for anyone wanting a chance to win the quilt, all it takes is a $5.00 donation! The drawing will take place at the Victory Rally in Spirit Lake, and you don’t even have to be present to win!
Your $5.00 donation will go long way…
You’ll be entered into a drawing for a chance to win the Victory Quilt AND You will help honor and remember our fallen heroes. Your donation will go directly toward helping to purchase fabric and supplies to
make quilts for fallen heroes’ families.
Donate today and enter to win this quilt! See details below on how you can enter to win this Freedom Quilts “Victory Rally” quilt.
There are 2 ways you can enter to win:
1. Enter by Mail.
You can enter into the raffle AND help Freedom Quilts by mailing in your donation. For every $5.00 you get to put your name in for a chance to win this beautiful quilt. So, if you give a donation of $25.00, your name will be put into the drawing five times, and so on.
To enter into the drawing, please make your check out to:
13637 550th St
Fonda, IA 50540
2. Enter in Person at the Victory Rally
Will you be attending the Spirit Lake Victory Rally? Stop by and visit us! We’d love to say hello and offer you the chance to see this quilt in person. We’ll be taking donations and drawing entries in person at the Victory Rally.
— If you know of a fallen soldier’s family that has not received a quilt from us, please have them contact Freedom Quilts at firstname.lastname@example.org or have them request a quilt on our website. We can then work at making them a quilt to honor their love one.
Honoring Our Heroes April 6, 2013 Event at Freedom Quilts Shop
UPDATE FROM BETTY
What a day indeed. It started raining — something that I had hoped would’t happen. I have to share this with you because this happened as a sign to not worry, that everything would work out just fine. As it was raining, I asked the Lord to please let it stop raining for the families. I just didn’t want them to get wet. I wanted some kind of sign to know if He was listening. Well, I have a little church statue, and when you wind it up, the statue will play Amazing Grace. As I was walking to go outside, all of a sudden, I heard the little church play Amazing Grace. I knew it was my sign. And sure enough, the rain did stop just as the families arrived.
It was truly an emotional day. It started with the Legion Riders from Spencer who brought 65 flags to make the avenues of flags for the families. This group is all about honoring the families. The families always come first for them. And I did not have to worry at all because they had it all under control, trying to make it easier for me and for the families. The Storm Lake Legion Riders also helped out with escorting the families to the Freedom Quilts Shop.
Once the families arrived to the Freedom Quilts Shop, they were greeted with a big hug, a 21 gun salute and taps. Then, they entered the quilt shop where the families could feel the love and comfort radiating from all over the building. The shop was packed with so many people wanting to honor them.
We started with a prayer, National Anthem, and the Pledge of Allegiance. Then we continued with the battle cross and the folding of the flag. Our MC was Coach Wilkening — he’s not just a coach but a history teacher and someone who honors all heroes, for he has his own hero. The Coach’s son is serving this country also.
Our first speaker was Col Wiley, a great speaker who took the time to honor each of the heroes we were honoring that day. Our second speaker was Sheri Johnson. She talked about PTSD the pain of finding her son who had hung himself. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room as I looked around. She made you take the journey with her, and we all felt as though we were walking side by side with her. The most painful of all was when she said she gave birth to her loving son, and she had to pronoun him dead.
Our next speaker took us through her journey. Her brother was MIA. His helicopter went down in 1965, and his remains — thanks to Shirley Hasse — were finally brough back to the United States in 2009. Shirley never gave up, even when the government was not giving her much hope. She had so much determination. She remarked there are still many MIA whose remains need to come home.
We honored Coach Brad Wilkening for all he did to keep helping Freedom Quilts, and then we honored the Storm Lake St. Mary’s Boys’ Basketball team for being our number one donor. Third, we honored the Hillshire’s for being our number two donor who was willing to help us out.
We honored the Fort Des Moines Museum by making them a banner to display for all to see and for helping us get Col Wiley and Major Radtke come and speak to honor our heroes.
When all the speakers were done, we then called the families one by one and unfolded their quilts. The quilts had pictures of their love ones and things they requested to be put on the quilt. It told a story about each of them — something that they could cherish forever. It was emotional for the families and for me. I wanted to honor them all with respect and comfort and compassion. And so I worried if I did everything right for each of the families, but all it took was looking into their faces and seeing their reaction to know I did it right for them. We had honored the families right, and they will know that their loved ones will never be forgotten. All of us who were there would always be there for the families no matter what.
It was truly an emotional moment for all of us who were there also. All my energy went into making sure everything was done with so much love, compassion and faith. I was honored to hear from one of the families right away. She said that after the event was over and they returned to the hotel, the families all had supper together and even breakfast. A bond started and hopefully will continue to grow with each of them. That in itself gave me great happiness — that out of sadness, friendships were started.
Freedom Quilts, as long as it can, will continue to honor heroes and their families one at a time. For who lost a son or daughter or spouse, please let me know and I will try to do what I can to make you a quilt.
Thanks to the generous donations from the Storm Lake St. Mary boys Basketball team and Coach Wilkening, we were able to make quilts for many of families. The boys basketball team worked hard not only to go to state, but also to make enough money to honor the families who lost a loved one. Sherry Wells helped raise enough money so the families could stay two nights at King’s Pointe Resort as well as flowers, cake, cookies, and Limo service for the families. My son Wesley Nielsen took all the event photos that are on this website. The volunteers from myself to my husband, my son and grand kids, to friends Freedom Quilters all made this special memorial event possible. We even had a friend come all the way from Texas to help us.
This event is not just to honor the families, but to also to have the families meet other families and become friends and help one another out. There was a connection that was for sure, and you could see it in their faces as they all got together.
At Freedom Quilts, we enjoy it when guests come and visit. Recently, we invited Father Siby to come and join our potluck and to see the ins and outs of Freedom Quilts. We started with the potluck, and as always, there was plenty of wonderful food to eat. Afterwards, we gave Father Siby a tour of the Freedom Quilts shop.
Whenever someone visits for a tour, we always start with the history of how Freedom Quilts got started. Then, they get to see step–by-step how we put a quilt together. If Dennis Nielsen is in the shop, he shows our guests how he machine quilts the quilt tops that we put together. When it comes to the personalized quilts, Dennis shows how he uses the embroidery machine to add patterns and images that family members would like on their quilts. Sometimes when we can’t find a pattern for the design that a family wants, Dennis will make his own pattern. Dennis also adds photographs on the quilt for families.
After Father took the tour, we asked if he wanted to help tie a quilt. We’re always well prepared for visitors to step in and help with the quilts. To prepare for visitors, Linda Madsen and I put the quilt tops on stretchers and then pin them so that anyone who comes to help will know exactly where to put their ties. This makes it easier for anyone who joins us. Visitors don’t have to worry about where exactly a tie should be placed – all they have to do is just make sure the thread matches the fabric, and then tie. And it didn’t take Father Siby long at all to get the hang of tying quilts.
We all hope that Father Siby had a good time and will come back again to enjoy the potluck and to quilt with us, or even just to enjoy the potluck again. We were all honored to have Father Siby join us.
Take a Tour or Volunteer with Us! Our quilt shop is open for anyone who would like to see what Freedom Quilts is all about. If you’ve never quilted, before, don’t worry! You’ll come out of the Freedom Quilts shop knowing the steps it takes to make a quilt from start to finish. And even if you’re just curious about the ins and outs of Freedom Quilts, you’re more than welcome to come and visit.
To arrange a visit or to volunteer, please email Betty at email@example.com or call her at 712-288-5328 . Whether it’s putting in a stitch or two, or giving a donation, it all counts! All that matters is that you are helping to make a difference. And one thing is for sure, we have fun when we get together!
Support Freedom Quilts and
Enter into a Drawing to Win this Quilt!
Scroll down to find out how…
Here’s how YOU can enter to win.For this year’s annual fundraiser, Freedom Quilts will be raffling another quilt made with lots of love. You can help Freedom Quilts by entering into the quilt raffle with a donation — for every $25.00 you get to put your name in for a chance to win this beautiful quilt. So, if you give a donation of $50.00 your name will be put into the drawing twice, and so on.
To enter into the drawing, please make your check out to:
13637 550th St
Fonda, IA 50540
100% of your donation will go directly toward supplies, materials
and expenses to keep the project going.
The drawing will be on July 4th, and you don’t have to be present to win. We will deliver the quilt or mail it to you. We’ll also notify everyone of the winner right here on our website.
Your gift matters. Day after day, we receive quilt requests from families in pain. Because of the kind donations we’ve received from people like you, Freedom Quilts has given hope to people all over the country who have mourned the loss of a loved one. Together, we have shown these families that we do care.
Please join us whether through the raffle or just by giving a donation,
and help to bring love and comfort to a family in need.
More photos of this year’s raffle quilt…
Click to see enlarged photo.
Click to see enlarged photo.
Click to see enlarged photo.
We are pleased to share that last year’s quilt raffle was a success. Funds raised were enough to cover the cost of quilting supplies and care packages through 2012. We have now given a total of 7,264 quilts.
The Boots and Spurs 4-H club is a fantastic group of 4-H’ers. They are amazingly talented and generous. Freedom Quilts was honored to have them visit our quilt shop, and we were very grateful for their generosity. During their visit, these four young ladies and two moms came to present a check to help Freedom Quilts.
While they were here, I gave the ladies a presentation to show them what goes into making a quilt and where the funding goes. When I was finished with the presentation, we worked together tying a quilt.
It didn’t take the girls long to figure out how to tie the quilt, and it didn’t take me long to know I was in the presence of some really wonderful young ladies — and that includes their loving and supportive mothers.
It’s fun when you tie quilts because you get a chance to talk, and talk we did. I found out what great young ladies these 4-H’ers are. They were all so very proud of their horses, and each of them shared photos with me. These young ladies not only ride their horses, but they take very good care of them. The love for animals was in all their faces.
One of the young ladies actually taught her mother how to ride. I listened to how important it is to them to make sure their horses are well fed and groomed. They also exercise their horses so they stay in shape. In June, all their hard work comes to fruition as they show off their horses and show off their riding skills.
We had a wonderful day together. The girls shared their love of horses with me, and I was able to share quilting and the love of Freedom Quilts with them.
Thank you Boots and Spurs 4-H club for caring and making a difference! Thank you for supporting the Freedom Quilts mission.
Once a year, Freedom Quilts quilters try to take a trip to just enjoy ourselves after a year of hard work.
This year, Freedom Quilts took a little trip to the Van and Bonnie Chocolate Breakfast. This was the first time we had ever trid something like this. Well I have to tell you, even someone like me who loves chocolate, was overwhelmed by all the chocolate they had. There were so many booths and so much to taste and see!
They were even having a drawing for a chocolate diamond necklace and ring. I have to say, they were beautiful. The diamond wasn’t made of chocolate, of course. It was just the type of diamond they used — a chocolate diamond. I should have taken a picture so you could’ve seen it, but I was just too busy admiring that beautiful ring and necklace. We weren’t the lucky ones to win that beautiful ring and necklace, but we still had a lot of fun.
I have to be honest, I didn’t try all the booths that had chocolate because it was just too much chocolate for the morning. I love chocolate, but that was a little too much even for me. Since it was our first time, we didn’t know that you could bring bags or plastic containers to put your samples in. But we sure did enjoy it, and it was something new for us to try out.
Next year we hope to go on another short trip. We’re not sure where we’ll go yet, but I know it will be fun. If you have any suggestions for next year’s trip, please share them in the comment section below. We’d love to hear your ideas!
The West Bend Quilters recently visited the Freedom Quilts shop and helped us quilt. It was an honor to have such wonderful and talented ladies come and help. All these ladies are jewels who also feel strongly about bringing comfort to those in need. Together, we worked hard to quilt for our fallen soldiers’ families.
But we don’t just work hard — we like to eat too. And together, we all shared in a wonderful feast. At the table we enjoyed some fantastic food made by the West Bend Quilters as well as the Freedom Quilts quilters. We never know what each of us will bring, but oh the food is always great.
That day, we had a ball together! There was laughter and stories, and just true friendship.
It’s so good to have that friendship. It’s certainly needed these days. We share the love of quilting, and we know that we’re bring comfort as we work hard to make sure the quilts get done. God bless them all for the hard work and the love that they put into each stitch and for the friendship that binds us together.
The New Year is here and the Nielsen family has been truly blessed with a new granddaughter. What a way to end the old year and bring in the New Year with a true blessing from God. I did take time off my busy schedule to help my daughter out during her recovery and with her 2 year old. What a joy it is being around a 2 year old.
I loved being needed and helping my daughter and her loving family. I have to say, I’m so touched to have an amazing son-in-law. I’m blessed now with five grandchildren. Both my children have blessed us with children of their own. As I took time to enjoy my family, my heart was not far from remembering the families that now mourn the loss of a loved one. As much as I enjoyed my family, my heart was telling me I still had a mission that needed my attention.
Through the years, I have learned that family is so very important, and that we need to take time and enjoy them. But we also need to try and make this a better place for our children and grandchildren. We need to open our hearts and reach out to those who need us. I know sometime we are afraid to use our gifts and talents, but God didn’t give us those gifts and talents to keep them to ourselves. He gave us these gifts so we can use them to make this country a better place.
Someone today said I was God’s vessels because I allow God into my heart to do good for others. I believe we are all God’s vessels. We just need to reach into our hearts and bring joy to others.
For this New Year, I will again devote my life to helping those who mourn and so will my volunteers, for when we do that, our lives are far richer than we can ever imagine. So for this New Year, smile more give a helping hand. Reach out to family and friends and always take time to think of others. Take time out of your busy schedule to enjoy the gifts God has given you.
Sometimes you just have to make the trip out to our quilt shop to see what Freedom Quilts does for all the families of our fallen. In November, we were honored to have two very special groups visit the quilt shop.
November 10, 2012
Buena Vista University Students Help Freedom Quilts
We were delighted to have such a wonderful group of bright, talented college students help us at the Freedom Quilts shop. Many thanks to the students who helped quilt!
November 12, 2012
Col Wiley with the 103rd from Des Moines and Lisa & Tina from
the Ft Des Moines Museum visit the Freedom Quilts shop.
To welcome our guests, the Freedom Quilts girls all brought delicious good food to share. So, before quilting, we are all gathered in the kitchen to eat. We wanted to make sure that Col Wiley, Lisa, and Tina would be able to enjoy a good meal before quilting with us. After our meal, the Freedom Quilts girls helped the Col, Lisa and Tina quilt. We wanted them to share in the feeling we get when we put a quilt together for the families.
We also showed them the quilt that we plan on raffling for our upcoming fundraiser as well as the Iowa Has Not Forgotten quilt with all the signatures. Many thanks to Col Wiley, Lisa, and Tina — they are taking the signature quilt to have others add their signatures on the panels for our Iowa Has Not Forgotten Signature Quilt.
When guests visit our quilt shop, we show them step by step what it takes to make a quilt. We walk through our process of choosing just the right fabric for each quilt. Then, we design the quilt and decide exactly which fabric will look just right and how it should be used.
After our design is well-planned, we cut several swatches of fabric to just the precise measurements, and we sew them together to create blocks, borders and binding. Finally, we stretch the top, middle and bottom layers and finish them off by tying or quilting them together.
But the process doesn’t stop there. We also carefully pack the quilts and ship them along with a very special, personalized letter to the family member. Each step takes a lot of time and love, for we want everything to be just right for the families who are hurting and need us to care.