11/23/2012 6:01:00 AM Quilts of Valor Emotional Kingman ceremony honors veterans
From left, Russ Settell, Richard Sharits and Rudy Vallee, brothers who all served in the Vietnam War, stand with Kingman Quilter’s Guild members during the Quilts of Valor program Saturday. All three brothers have received quilts as part of the program.
Tom Rasmussen hugs quilter Romona Trainer at the 4th annual Quilts of Valor program at the Mohave Museum of History and Arts Saturday.
Erin Taylor Miner Staff Reporter
KINGMAN - Richard Sharits and his three brothers all took their turns going off to the Vietnam War. One by one, they all came home.
"We're tight," Sharits said solemnly without elaborating.
"Closer than you could imagine," brother Russ Settell chimed in.
Sharits, 63, Settell, 66, and a third brother, Rudy Vallee, 64, all ended up in Kingman over the years. (A fourth brother, Hector Settell, lives in Chandler.) All three were on hand at the Mohave Museum of History and Arts Saturday when Settell and Vallee were two out of 36 veterans honored with a quilt lovingly stitched by members of the Kingman Quilters Guild. (Sharits got his quilt last year).
The history museum's lot was packed with visitors having to use overflow parking during the emotional Quilts of Valor ceremony inside. One by one the quilters handed their creations to local veterans. Each unfurling of a quilt elicited "ohhs and ahhhs" from the crowd while the veterans wiped away tears from their eyes as they appeared stunned by the craftsmanship of each quilt.
Joan Burtrum said it takes an average of six months to make each quilt. The quilters pick out the patterns and try to stick to patriotic or historically themed fabrics.
She said the Quilts of Valor project is meant to honor those who served. She read a quote to the audience by George Washington:
"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation."
Russ Settell said it was all he could do to keep from tearing up as he was given his quilt, which was created by Pandi Patterson and Jackie Bradley.
"It was emotional," he said.
The Kingman Quilter's Guild Quilts of Valor program is patterned after the national program. The guild has about 70 members, Burtrum said. This is the fourth year locally for the program, which averaged about 20 quilts a year before turning out a record 36 quilts this year.