WILMINGTON — Love, care and gratitude flowed recently from the hearts to the hands and into the seams of a very special gift for a veteran.
Arthur “Shine” Tipton of Athens was presented with a Quilt of Valor in honor of his 32 years of military service. It was presented on Saturday at the U.S. Veterans Motorcycle Club’s 2nd Annual Winter Party at the American Legion Post 49 in Wilmington.
The handmade quilt was presented to him by Joanne “Mumsie” Weston of Wilmington. In her research on the Vietnam veteran, she found that not only he was a well-liked individual who many looked to for help and guidance, but is often the first in line to offer help.
Before the quilt was presented, Tipton — joined by his wife Jo Lynn “Moon” Tipton — was given two certificates in recognition of his service. One for his 16 years in the Marines from 1958 to 1974, the second for his 16 years in the Navy from 1977 to 1993.
“Shine” — who earlier in the night was dancing to classic rock songs performed by Streetwise — was speechless as the quilt was presented to him.
“This was quilted for you because you know freedom isn’t free,” said Weston. “The cost of our freedom is the dedication of men and women like you. This quilt is meant to say thank you for your profound sacrifice. This quilt is meant to offer you comfort and to remind you that although your friends and family can’t always be with you at all times you’re forever in our thoughts and hearts. May your quilt give you comfort when you experience a dark time or need the warmth of a grateful hug.”
The quilt was then draped over Tipton. He thanked those in attendance and gave Weston a hug.
“Thank you all for this,” said Tipton, who jokingly added, “It’s mine, don’t touch it.”
The Quilt of Valor started in 2003 with a literal dream of founder Catherine Roberts.
According to Roberts, whose had a son deployed in Iraq, the dream was as vivid as real life. She saw a young man sitting on the side of his bed hunched over in the middle of the night. She could see he was battling his war demons. Then she saw him wrapped in a quilt with a new demeanor of hope and well-being.
Each quilt is handmade with a high standard and with the mission of “to cover all those service members and veterans wounded physically or psychologically with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.”
In total, 176,585 quilts have been awarded to veterans with 5,515 presented in December 2017.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574