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thedrifter
11-08-08, 09:03 AM
Giving back to service members, one quilt at a time

11/7/2008 By Cpl. M. Bravo , 2nd Marine Logistics Group

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (Nov. 7, 2008) —When a person enlists in the military, they vow to protect and serve the United States and everyone living in it. They promise to fight for the freedoms that we all so richly cherish. They volunteer to sacrifice themselves for the sake of millions, whether or not anyone thanks them.

But many of them are thanked and supported from home with carefully wrapped packages stuffed with cookies and socks, long letters, and pictures and videos of life going on back home. There are so many ways to thank those who serve even if it is just those two simple words. But one woman, like many others, chose to give her thanks in the form of a handmade quilt.

The quilt, sewn by Lynda Housel, a Greeley, Colo. native, was presented to Gunnery Sgt. Stephanie Levine, company gunnery sergeant for the Wounded Warrior’s Battalion East, II Marine Expeditionary Force, as a token of appreciation for her service to this country as a U.S. Marine. Levine was injured by a vehicle born improvised explosive device explosion, on a humanitarian mission in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 25, 2007.

Staff Sgt. Bryan Housel, a platoon sergeant for Landing Support Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 27, 2nd Marine Logistics Group and grandson of Housel, presented the quilt to Levine on behalf of his grandmother, at the Jacksonville Mall’s center court in Jacksonville, N.C., Nov. 1. He spoke very highly of his grandmother and her patriotism.

“She is very grateful and understanding of the sacrifices that have been made for her freedom,” he said. “She appreciates the sacrifices [that] today’s Americans are making around the world today.”

Showing her appreciation not just through her quilted creation, Staff Sgt. Housel said that during his deployment to Iraq last year, his grandmother helped support his entire platoon with donations through an organization called AdoptaPlatoon.

A “very loving and very patriotic” woman, Housel said she has been quilting for 13 years and that this year’s quilt was inspired by an organization called Quilts of Valor. With the help of many volunteers like Housel, the organization has delivered more than 15,000 quilts to wounded service members and family members who have lost their loved ones in the war on terror.

“I just hope they realize that there are a lot of us who care about them and want to give back to them,” Housel said.

When Housel began sewing the quilt she said she realized that with her use of more feminine colored fabrics, the quilt would some day belong to a female. Her support for the military is close to home as she is the wife of a sailor and the mother of a Marine. She said she wanted to honor her family members by choosing a female Marine.

“When I knew it was for a lady Marine, it felt much more special to me,” the elder Housel said.

After the quilt presentation, Levine said she was honored to be chosen to receive such a special gift.

“It made me feel really good [and] I really appreciated it,” Levine said. “It was a blessing to be afforded the opportunity to receive this quilt.”

“These comfort quilts are just a hug when we can’t be there to physically hug them,” Lynda said. “Just to let them know that we love them and appreciate their service.”

Making a quilt is just one of the many ways people say thank you to America’s service members. No matter how small the gesture, appreciation for sacrifice is always welcome.