Highland Quilters create quilts for former members of the military in hospice care in time for Fourth of July

June 29, 2019

For the Highland Quilters, a project that began in winter has come to fruition just in time for Independence Day.

The quilters are a group of 20 or more mostly retired women who create quilts for various mission projects throughout the year. They meet every Wednesday morning at Highland Presbyterian Church, 500 E. Roseville Road, where most are members.

The group created 18 red, white and blue quilts just in time for the Fourth of July. The quilts will be displayed and dedicated at a church service Sunday and given to Jacqueline Builder, volunteer coordinator for Hospice & Community Care in Lancaster, on Wednesday.

In a phone interview, Builder said the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization was looking for groups to make quilts and blankets for veterans in hospice care. She sent out emails to various groups to see who might be willing to create red, white and blue blankets and quilts for veterans.

Tricia Hough, one of the Highland Quilters and member of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Manheim Township, presented the idea to her fellow quilters. They established a deadline to finish the quilts by July 4. The group received a $250 grant from Thrivent Financial, which offers grants for “action teams.”

“That basically bought the fabric for the tops,” Hough said. “The group purchased the batting and everybody contributed for the backing.”

The quilts, which are no larger than 45 inches square, are all different. Each bears the initials of the person who created it on the tag.

“We thought the Fourth of July was a good deadline which gave us a little push to get them finished,” she said.

“It’s the first time we’ve done it,” added Juanita Fowler, who coordinates the group. She said the group also is crafting quilts destined for Virginia and Puerto Rico later this year.

“When someone in the group brings up a need, then we will try to meet it,” Fowler said.

The Highland Quilters were founded roughly 15 years ago by Mary Kay Himes.

Builder said Hospice & Community Care partners with We Honor Veterans, a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The motto is “No Veteran Dies Alone.”

Hospice holds military pinnings, in which veterans in hospice care receive a military certificate with their branch of service, a flag pin, an American flag, a star from an American flag and, when available, a quilt or blanket. The pinnings are done veteran to veteran, she said.

Recently, another group created camouflage quilts for U.S. Army veterans, Builder said.

The quilts are given to the veterans and are a memento to the families, Builder said.

“Families are so appreciative,” she said. “Some have been displayed at (veterans’) funerals.”