When May Gunter and her fellow quilt-making friends from the Piece and Plenty Quilt Guild delivered more than handmade quilts to the Veterans Home in St. James Friday, marking the completion of more than two years of hard work.
And for Gunter, this community service project was personal.
"My daughter is in the military, and she went to Iraq and came back a changed person," said Gunter, former chairperson and current member of the guild. "She really needs help because of everything that went on over there. Veterans give up a whole lot of their life for what they do over there.
"Military means a whole lot to me, and they don't get the thanks they deserve,” said Gunter. “I've been around the military since I was 17, and I am now almost 50."
The guild has spent the last two years making 125 red, white and blue quilts, each with its own unique design, for the veterans at the St. James facility.
"It was amazing," Gunter said. "They were just tickled pink and full of joy and hugs. It was very touching."
Gunter, who took this on as her special project when she served as chairperson two years ago, said the quilts serve as "a special thank you" for everything they have done for our country.
Of the quilts produced for the project, 100 are "lap-sized," uniquely designed for vets bound to wheelchairs. Twenty-five of the quilts are twin-sized, which Gunter said take a little more time to make.
"Some of the big ones can take up to month – it just depends on who is making them," she said. "Most of the lap ones you can make in a week."
The Piece and Plenty Quilt Guild meets the first Thursday of each month at 7:15 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Rolla on 10th Street. New members are always welcome.
"We also have classes to help you learn different techniques of quilting," said Gunter, who joined the guild in 2003. "Basically, I didn't know how to quilt when I started except how to sew squares together.
"When I saw there were classes, I started taking them.
Even still, you learn something in every class," she continued. "It is a lost art because people are getting away from it. All the love and affection put into a homemade quilt makes it so much better than a quilt you buy at the store."