Florida Quilts of Valor State Coordinator Terry Burtchell thanked each attending veteran for their service.
Veterans were wrapped in handmade quilts at the first-annual Quilts of Valor Golf Tournament on Saturday, March 30, hosted by Terry Burtchell.
To date, over 214,000 veterans have received a quilt of valor, and, there are currently 350 veterans that have been nominated in Florida to receive a quilt. Each quilt costs approximately $200 to complete.
Burtchell is the Florida QOV state coordinator and was recently selected by Congressman Michael Waltz as part of Women’s History Month and thanked for her service to veterans. She is a retired seamstress, mother of an Army soldier and has a quilting studio in her home where she handcrafts numerous quilts. Burtchell was also honored to represent Florida in the QOV 50 State Salute Book this year.
As the ceremony started at the Cypress Head Golf Course in Port Orange, Burtchell reminded those in attendance that the mission of QOV is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing quilts of valor.
“That's our own way, as quilters, to say thank you for what you've done for us, your sacrifice, your valor, your service, to us," Burtchell said. "We want to say thank you. This is your day.”
Guest speaker, retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Ernest C. Audino, received a round of applause from the veterans and their families as he spoke. Audino also serves as the district director for Waltz.
“I'm proud of everyone in this room” said Audino, near the end of his speech.
As the sun beat down and the temperatures rose, Burtchell began awarding the quilts, cracking a joke about the warm weather.
"We really need one today, right?" she said, referring to the quilts. The veterans and family members laughed.
Burtchell thanked each veteran as they received a quilt.
Lloyd Graves, a 95-year-old World War II Army veteran from 1944-1948 received a standing ovation from the crowd.
Gordon Kelly, a 98-year-old WWII U.S. Coast Guard veteran, did as well. Kelly patrolled the U.S. coastline and captured German soldiers during the war.
Dominick Quaglieri, 95-year-old WWII Army veteran from 1942-1946, was also among those who received a standing ovation.
Quilters were then asked to wrap each veteran in their awarded quilt of valor for a group photo and families proceeded to help fold quilts and take their own photos as a remembrance of the day.