It’s a love of country and a passion for quilting that brought a group of women together at the Wasilla Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post this week.

With each stitch, Carol Saunders unravels the reason why she came.

“My husband is retired military, I have a son-in-law who just retired from the Army, I was in the army, my son was in the marines,” Saunders explained.

These days, Saunders continues that pattern of service by volunteering for the Quilts of Valor Foundation (QOV), which sews quilts for service members and veterans affected by war.

“It makes a big difference to them and we’ve had veterans cry when we give them their quilts,” Saunders said.

Quilts of Valor Foundation quilting

A Quilts of Valor patch on a finished quilt

Just like the women who sew them, every quilt is unique.

Kathy Buirge said the gift can warm the body and mend the soul.

“They all say, ‘well I don’t deserve this, I didn’t do anything special, I was just doing my job,'” Buirge said. “That’s how veterans feel about their service. They’ve answered their country’s call and they don’t expect to be thanked.”

Buirge has made more than 50 quilts for the QOV. Her husband, a Vietnam veteran, has the first.

“I brought it home and showed it to him and he like it,” Buirge said. “I said, ‘ok this will be yours.’”

The group of quilters don’t know who will receive their latest batch of blankets, but the volunteers hope that whoever does will know that what they made with their hands actually came from their hearts.

KTVA 11’s Shannon Ballard can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.