By David Hotle, The JOURNAL
With Easter Sunday only days away, Navy veteran Mike Orris remembers that on Easter Sunday 73 years ago the United States had invaded Okinawa. Orris was serving in the Navy and had been part of the invasion, commenting that more Navy people had died during the invasion than soldiers and Marines.
Orris said that his ship had just come from the battle of Iwo Jima to the invasion of Okinawa, which he called two of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific. He said the reason for so many Navy casualties during the fighting was Kamakaze pilots hitting ships.
On Thursday, Jane Messer, a member of the Quilts of Valor Foundation from Mt. Pleasant, presented Orris with a handmade quilt to show appreciation for service. She said the quilts consist of three layers. The top layer with many colors, shapes and fabrics, she said, represents the communities and many individuals. Each stitch represents the love, gratitude and sometimes tears of the maker. The padding represents the hope the quilt will bring warmth, comfort, peace and healing to the veteran. The backing is the strength, which represents the strength of the recipient.
?A Quilt of Valor is priceless,? Messer said. ?It can never be bought. it should never be sold. it is not a birthday gift or a Christmas present. A Quilt of Valor is a healing and comforting gesture, a tangible thing that can be wrapped around themselves and know that someone thinks about them with love and caring.?
The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with healing and comforting Quilts of Valor. Messer said that while the quilt is presented to the veteran, the foundation also sees it as a thank you to the families who have sacrificed much keeping family and home together while the veteran was away.
Mike?s son, Dave Orris, had asked the quilt be delivered.
?I feel very proud,? Orris said of receiving the quilt.
Messer said the Mt. Pleasant foundation has 10 volunteer members and has presented 154 quilts in two years. Quilts of Valor Foundation was started in 2003 by Catherine Roberts, according to the organization?s website. Several years ago Messer and some friends went to a presentation from the foundation and felt it was a worthy cause.
?Every one of us is passionate about giving back,? she said.
People who wish to request a Quilt of Valor for a veteran can contact Messer at (319) 931-0175.