This blog was originally published on StudioFabrics.com/blog on June 5, 2016. We are reposting on the Blank Quilting blog, because the fabric collection that inspired this post is American Honor, by Tana Mueller of Western Denim & Dirt, a Blank Quilting Corp line.
Before reading, please make sure to read the previous blog so you can have a full understanding of what has transpired prior to this blog here.
Let me preface this blog with a couple of general comments. I am absolutely loving this story because it is real. Unfortunately, this industry is currently lacking a real story with some positive undertones and good vibes, so this is definitely welcomed. To the contrary, the buzz in our industry of late has been pretty depressing.
Despite coming up with promotions and contests around the American Honor line, please note that my family and Jaftex Corp., are not just in this for profit. We are putting our money where our mouths are with a $1000 donation to America’s Mighty Warriors. In addition, we are going to have a matching gift. This is where we will match all gifts made by others in our industry up to $5000. So for example if quilt shops and consumers donate $4000 in total, we will match those gifts. So $4000 becomes $8000. Ideally, we would love to donate the $5000 and in effect have raised $10,000. If you do make a donation to America’s Mighty Warriors and want us to match it, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org a copy of the email receipt.
I know that this story hit home for many because I received over a dozen comments on my blog which is probably the equivalent to like a couple hundred for someone else’s blog in our industry. This is due to the fact that no one ever comments on my blog for some odd reason, but apparently people are reading because they tell me they are. The joke is that I probably got more comments on this blog than all the blogs I have ever written put together excluding spam of course. So anyway, without further ado, let me introduce you to the amazing Soldier S. Soldier S is:
Scarlett Wells, Owner of The Fabric Cobbler
324 E Ruehl St, Forsyth, IL 62535 217-853-4629
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHb3S41vq9OJ06WmfKJ7THQ Specialist In The Tennessee Army National Guard and in the active Army during deployment. 1174th TC Unit out of Dresden, TN.
From here, I think I am going to leave the rest of the story to Scarlett. So here are some snippets from the emails that were exchanged between Scarlett and I:
Here is the charity I’ve chosen Scott:
Here is why Scarlett chose the charity. “I wanted to select a charity that maybe doesn’t always receive the attention some of the big names attract. I’ve always held a special place in my heart for the little guys, whether rooting for underdogs in sports or supporting small businesses. Over time, the community built by my quilt shop has become known for random acts of kindness. We often adopt people and serve as secret Santa’s for those who need it the most. Clients online and locally will gift fabric or account credits anonymously to people they don’t even know, all in the name of paying it forward and helping another person smile through the gift of fabric.”
“I thought long and hard about the charity I would select. When I read that America’s Mighty Warriors has a program specifically dedicated to Random Acts of Kindness, I knew that I had to choose this organization. I instinctively placed my right hand over my chest as I read about Marc’s last letter home to his mom explaining just what I’ve said so many times in my own shop: our world would be a far better place indeed if we all just stopped for a moment to help another person, for no other reason than to brighten their day, make them smile, and pay it forward. Marc was the first Navy Seal to be killed in Iraq and his mom has carried on his torch through America’s Mighty Warriors. I pray that the donation offered in my name will help her and the organization honor troops and their families with more Random Acts of Kindness.”
I couldn’t have said it better than Scarlett. After hearing what Scarlett has said, there is nothing more that I want to do than make a difference for America’s Mighty Warriors in honor of the amazing Scarlett. Scarlett did write a bunch more in her email to me. In particular, without going in to too much detail, Scarlett has clarified that 7 of the 9 kids in her family were in the military and not all 9 as I had originally thought. In addition, you should know that Scarlett joined the military at the early age of 17 to make her parents proud of her. You should read about her recollection of finding out she would be deployed:
“I’ll never forget the moment in Basic Training when the twin towers fell. We were at one of our EOCT sites (end of cycle training). Our drill sergeants were so solemn. It just didn’t register for so many of us that morning that we really were under attack. I knew then at 18 years old that I’d be going to war at some point. I was actually in my college classroom about to start class for the morning when I received the call that I had 24 hours to sign over my life to my parents and get my affairs in order. We didn’t actually fly out to Iraq for another three and a half months, but we only had that day to prepare and then report for duty to begin the arduous pre-deployment process.”
And now hear what goes through Scarlett’s mind post-service and her challenges with PTSD. There is no doubt in my mind that this goes through the minds of many soldiers post war:
“I’ve thought so many times in the 12 years after I left the service: why did I survive when others didn’t? Why did I have PTSD after the war when so many others endured horrors far worse than I could personally imagine. There aren’t really answers to those questions. I was just a kid when I left. You aren’t really an adult at 19 years old. I heard some soldiers refer to being in Iraq as nothing more than our summer training in the California desert, while others absorbed every haunting moment of Iraq and internalized them. I’ll personally never forget how it feels to know one of our own isn’t going home with us to his family.”
“I’ll never forget the nightmares that followed when I returned home, but more importantly, I’ll never forget the pride of wearing that uniform and knowing that I chose to be there. I chose to serve. I chose to take the chance that I might be one of those fallen. I chose to take that solemn oath. And yes, I came home, but so many didn’t. And for them, it’s incredibly fitting to see that universally known image of a fallen hero on fabric. The line will give so many around the country quilts of comfort and will bring homage to the memories of those they will never hug again, at least not in this life.”
And finally, hear what Scarlett said to me about our encounter:
“I would also like to just once again say thank you Scott. Thank you for giving a voice to the memory of fallen heroes. I had no idea that my moments of tearful memories would lead to the story of Soldier S being made public. As Soldier S, I want to thank you on behalf of my entire family. You have honored us greatly and in ways beyond measure that we could have imagined.”
I hope you can now agree that this is truly an amazing story and probably the story of so many that remains untold or unheard. Wouldn’t it be great if quilt shops around the US could honor their own Soldier S or Soldier A, B, C, D…..X, Y and Z? So now that you have read this, the million dollar question is: What are you going to do now that you have heard this story? Please make me proud quilting community and share with us all the amazing ways that you are honoring our troops and Soldier S.
God Bless America!