For the past couple of years, Cindy Postnikoff from Military Ames has not only been working hard on bringing the Kimberley Veterans Memorial Park to life, but she has also been the East Kootenay representative for Quilts of Valour.
Quilts of Valour provides quilts to veterans and active duty Canadian service men and women. The quilts are meant to be a thank you, a ‘hug’ from the people of Canada.
Postnikoff has presented several quilts to veterans in the Kimberley/Cranbrook area and throughout the East Kootenay, and she says she never fails to be moved by how much the gifts mean to those who receive them.
“After we present the quilt, there are tears. Our Canadian veterans haven’t been recognized enough.”
“Our Armed Forces men and women are seldom acknowledged for their service and sacrifice and I can tell you first hand these quilts go a long way in doing that,” Postnikoff said. “They are not only beautiful but the recipients are immediately taken back by the amount of work that’s put into them.”
Quilts of Valour, and Postnikoff herself, have received many letters of thanks. She often reads them aloud when she makes a presentation to a quilting group about the program, and says she rarely makes it through reading them without tears.
An example of letters received:
“This is one of a few times I have been thanked for my Service in the military. I can’t tell you how much this means to me. I carry my quilt with me in my truck. I like having it close to me. I can feel the comfort that was stitched into it. I know if I ever need a hug it’s there. Thank you to all the quilters who are doing this for us. It’s hard to explain how much it means but it has truly brought me comfort.”
“You gave me hope by what you may see as a simple gift of appreciation…. you have contributed to the healing of the soul of a lost soldier.”
“I would like to express my gratitude for the Quilt of Valour I received recently. Those of us in the military have done our jobs without expecting any special than you or special treatment so when someone does take the time to tell us “Thank you for your Service” or to give us something beautiful like this quilt, it really means a lot. Please pass on my and my wife’s thanks to all of your quilters and let them know that their efforts are very much appreciated.”
“Please know how grateful I am for the gift of my Quilt. It lives in my office, wraps me and comforts me for lovely naps as it is often too far for me to drive home for supper during those many days I have commitments at the church in the evening. It also soothes me when my anxiety kicks in from time to time I sometimes call it my therapy quilt. The Quilts are an amazing example I think of the depth of appreciation Canadians have for the work of my fellow mates in uniform. The rigors of bureaucracy and service life continue to take its toll on our members despite the official propaganda to the contrary. The Quilts remind those in power Canadians will hold them to account if they do not do right by those serving.”
Postnikoff is grateful for local quilters who provide Quilts of Valour.
“Mary Frick at Sew Creative, Kimberley has been a huge supporter of QOV from making quilts to taking care of putting the QOV labels on the quilts for me,” she said. “Also, the girls at Sew Creative’s sewing group, Tanis Rye, Bernice Potapoff, Joan Taylor, Lorna Willey and the late Joan Giesbrecht.
Also contributing quilts are the Moyie Lake Quilters Guild, North Star Quilters Society – Kimberley, the Material Girls Cranbrook, Marianna Hradec from Moyie and Ellen Stapleton from Cranbrook.
Postnikoff has an upcoming meeting with the Cranbrook Quilters Guild in April and hopes they will get on board as well.
Postnikoff asks that if you are considering donating a quilt, that you contact her beforehand.
“There are quite high standards for Quilt of Valour quilts,” she said. “We continue to look for East Kootenay quilters who would like to donate quilts but there are specifications, so please call me.”
If you can’t see yourself being able to do an entire quilt, there is also a program called hug blocks. QOV takes hug blocks from every province and puts a quilt together.
“Those are very nice to present,” Postnikoff said. “It’s a thank you from the whole country.”
“We have so many veterans among us, some fortunately function quite well while some live with the terrors of war daily. These men and women often feel forgotten and to some extent they have been. It is my experience that we as a nation have not done our part in helping them. I see that changing somewhat and I believe Quilts of Valour is an important part of that change,” she said.
If you would like to be a part of this recognition, you can do so by supplying quilts for QOV to present to veterans or if you’d like to donate to the cause, please contact the East Kootenay Representative for Quilts of Valour, Cindy Postnikoff 250 919 3137. And, most importantly if you know a veteran in the East Kootenay who has not received a quilt please contact Cindy at the number above for more information.
A final note, Military Ames is seeking pictures of the old cenotaph in Kimberley before it was taken down. Please contact Cindy if you might have one.