By Nick Peterson
The Times, May 13, 2010
Most everyone appreciates what our men and women in uniform do for our country. But some people have a more tangible way of showing it than others.
Nearly every Tuesday morning at the Tualatin VFW Post 3452 â€“ Cpl. Matthew Lembke Hall â€“ you can find two ladies of the Tualatin VFW Auxiliary living out their patriotism. From about 7 a.m. until noon, Delores Abernathy and Phyllis Houston are bustling about, cutting and sewing â€“ making everything from quilts, ditty bags and luggage bags, to neck pillows, slippers and lap robes to give to the patients at the Portland VA Medical Center. Another Auxiliary member, Evelyn Turner, works from home, sewing 30 to 40 neck pillows a week.
Then, on Wednesdays, Houston and Pat Madlin go to the medical center to pass out their handiwork to hospitalized service members.
â€œThe veterans are very grateful and appreciative,â€ says Abernathy. â€œThey enjoy just knowing that there is still someone out there who cares about them.â€
Besides the neck pillows, the women turn out around 40 quilts per month â€“ Abernathy cuts and Houston sews â€“ as well as a number of the other items. They estimate the monetary value of what they produce and give out to be around $4,000 per month.
For the most part, the ladies have gathered all of their own materials for the items they make, but now they find things are a little tight.
â€œRight now I have about 90 quilts to back, and I have zero backing,â€ says Houston.
â€œUnfortunately, we are running low on materials, and without these only the veterans will suffer,â€ Abernathy adds.
The ladies say they are in need of quilt backing, flannel sheets and quilt batting. They could also use yarn for tying the quilts.
â€œWeâ€™re not picky about color or texture,â€ Abernathy says. â€œFlannel sheets make awesome quilt backs. Old comforters and fleece are also great.â€
One thing the ladies know, no matter how they can get the material, they have to keep doing what they are doing.
â€œAfter coming home from fighting the war, these veterans are now fighting for their lives, instead of all of ours,â€ Abernathy says. â€œIf everyone could visit the hospital just once, they would see just how appreciated that visit is.â€
Anyone who would like to donate materials to the VFW Auxiliary can call either Delores Abernathy at 503-639-8366 or Phyllis Houston at 503-649-2389.