By Martin J. Reed | [email protected] – al.com
WILSONVILLE, Alabama — As Joe Wilkerson received one of the handmade quilts made for nearly 70 veterans during the ceremony in Wilsonville, the token of appreciation came on a day that will always be special in his life.
Wilkerson celebrated his 88th birthday on Saturday, the same day as the ceremony held by the Quilts of Valor Foundation at the Wilsonville United Methodist Church for many veterans in the community.
“I feel great, just the remembrance,” Wilkerson said after receiving the quilt covered with squares of different colored fabric sewn together.
One by one, veterans came to the front of the church’s fellowship hall and viewed the quilt before it was wrapped around them to symbolize a hug.
“It’s a tangible token of appreciation just to say thank you for your service and there are Americans who do love you and support you in what you’re doing,” said Odenville’s Elizabeth Mathews, the Quilts of Valor Foundation’s Alabama coordinator.
In what is the Quilts of Valor Foundation Alabama chapter’s largest purely in-state undertaking to date, the organization’s members with the help of at least 20 volunteers from Wilsonville and elsewhere in the area created roughly 70 quilts to present to veterans in the small Shelby County community.
From start to finish, the quilts were made by people in Alabama.