By Resident Susan Richardson —
Members of Kendal at Granville’s Fiber Arts Group recently presented a Quilt of Valor to Andrew (Andy) Sterrett for his valor and service to the United States during World War II.
The Quilts of Valor Foundation mission is “to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.”
This national organization consists of people across the country in all 50 states who donate time, money, and materials, as well as teams of volunteers who piece the quilts together and do the quilting. In 2003, the Foundation was conceived, literally, with a dream by the founder, Catherine Roberts who had lost her son in Iraq. In her dream, she witnessed a young soldier suffering the demons of war and hunched over in utter despair; then suddenly he was wrapped in a quilt after which his whole demeanor changed to one of hope. In the beginning, the focus was on service members wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the first quilt was awarded in November 2003 to a young soldier who had lost his leg in Iraq. The Foundation became more inclusive, however, after gaining national nonprofit status in 2005; thereafter, quilts were awarded to anyone who had served in any of the nation’s wars.
The Foundation lists certain requirements to guide quilt makers. The quilt and batting fabrics must be of high quality cotton and the fabric design appropriate for adults. The size of a quilt should be about 60” to 80”, and the top, batting, and backing must be machine or hand quilted (not tied.) There is a wide variety of patterns available although many choose patriotic patterns and colors. As of 2017, the number of valor quilts made in the United States totaled a noteworthy 171,070. (Information on the Quilts of Valor Foundation from the Foundation website.)
The quilt awarded to Andy Sterrett is the third Valor quilt made at Kendal. Jan Hoftiezer and Margi Barns had each individually made a Quilt of Valor which they presented to the Foundation. This quilt is the first “round-robin” project of many hands; numerous members of the Kendal group including Margi Barns, Lee Wade, Terrie Chaney, Mary Ingham, Press Norpell, Velma Kennedy, Joyce Miller, Ellen Rose, Larry Worcester, and Margaret Banning joined their many skills to create the quilt awarded to Professor Sterrett.
Initially, the Fiber Arts group received a donation of fabric already cut into the necessary 6 1/2” squares from the Heart of Ohio Quilt Guild. Then three Kendal quilters designed the pattern and placed the pieces, and sent the quilt to a “long-armer,” a machine with long reach (that reportedly “drives like a car”) for the initial, machine stitching. In the final stage, the Kendal group added the binding which requires many hours of hand stitching. The beautiful pattern for their quilt features red, white, and blue patches on a white background with a running pattern of blue and red stars.
Professor Emeritus Sterrett was an outstanding teacher and advisor of students in the Mathematics Department at Denison University. He served as department chair, provost, and dean of the college during his long tenure at the university. He retired from Denison in 1989.
Professor Sterrett has been the frequent recipient of awards, including the Purple Heart, Good Conduct, and Bronze medals. In November 2016, he received the French Legion of Honor, an award established in 1802 by Napoleon and the highest award made by France for military or civil merit. Andy was awarded for his “heroic action” and sacrifice in the U.S. Army in gratitude by the French nation for liberating France from the Nazi occupation. On the front lines in France in November 1944, an exploding shell caused Infantryman Sterrett to lose his entire left arm. In accepting the Legion of Honor award, Sterrett insisted that the honor was shared by his buddies who did not come back from the war, as well as the surgeons who saved his life.
At the lively presentation ceremony at Kendal with music, speeches, and ice cream, many friends, neighbors, and admirers of Andy attended to celebrate his honor.