Service of 37 veterans honored with unique, handmade quilts

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Over three dozen veterans and active duty service members, who served our country from all over the world, were honored Monday in Myrtle Beach.

One of a kind quilts handmade by people all over the country were given to these veterans to help provide comfort and healing.

37 service members, from all branches of military, were called one-by-one to have the quilts draped over their shoulders.

A group of 180 locals, called the Myrtle Beach Shore Birds, are the hands behind a majority of the quilts.

A nonprofit organization, the group raises money for the quilts, picks out the fabric locally, then sends the raw material for quilters all over to put together.

The regional coordinator for Quilts of Valor, a national organization that provides these quilts to veterans, said it takes about six to eight months to complete one quilt, which is then sent back to the Shore Birds for finishing touches.

“Many of our service people have PTSD and have issues,” said Joan Wobbleton. “There’s nothing magic about our quilts, but a lot of them have reported that it’s just made them feel comfort.”

Each of the finished products have the veteran’s name and the names of the people who made the quilt sewn onto them.

“It’s pretty, it’s very beautiful” said 90 year old Harley Peters after receiving his quilt Monday.

Peters enlisted to fight in World War II when he was just 17.

Over seven decades later, the only veteran today from the Second World War had his service recognized.

“It’s a great honor,” he told News13.

And it’s an honor that comes on a very special day for peters.

“Today is my birthday!” he exclaimed. “It’s just such a great honor on my birthday to be involved in something like this.”

Service members of all ages, branches, and rankings were attendance– even one with four legs.

Service dog Sophie was presented with her own quilt, two years after her master received his own.

Of the 37 veterans who were honored with quilts, two of them were women.

“It was just wonderful. I’m gonna start crying,” said Vietnam veteran Kortney Dempsey.

Dempsey served as a law enforcement officer and was the only woman in her squadron in the 1970s.

“When they put the quilt around me there was a just a feeling that came over me like comfort,” she said with tears in her eyes. “It felt good.”

She says she plans to use the quilt for comfort for the rest of her life.

Over 1300 quilts have been awarded locally since 2010, and Wobbleton said more help is needed to put them together.

Those wishing to get involved or nominate someone to receive a quilt can visit the Quilts of Valor website.