Quilts for Soldiers

By Erika Mahoney

November 27, 2012 Updated Nov 27, 2012 at 12:41 AM EDT

Norwich, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Imagine spending Christmas in a foreign land with no gifts to remind you of home.

It's a scenario that has brought a community together.

On Monday night, quilters put the finishing stitches on 14 hand-made quilts for 14 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan.

"It takes a lot of hands to put one of these together," said Karen Kamsoke.

The work began in early November.

"I'm hoping that when they receive these, they curl up with them at night when they go to bed and know they are loved and that they are cared about," said Kamsoke.

The mission began when Kamsoke's nephew, a company commander currently deployed in Afghanistan, told her 14 of his soldiers would be without gifts this Christmas.

"He wanted to make sure they all got gifts," said Kamsoke. "And I said 'no problem, I can do that.' And then my niece said... 'you know... it's getting cold over there, do you think quilts would be a possibility?' And then I thought about that and got a little nervous."

That's when the backup came in.

"It's been real "goose-bumpy" to see 75 people pull together to actually create these blocks, create the quilts," said Diane Marvin, owner of Sew Nice in Norwich. "The store has been kind of turned upside down to look like the red, white and blue of the country as we've had fabric flying around the store. It has just been so exciting. And to know we actually did what we set out to do has just been amazing."

When the quilts were just about complete, getting them in the mail was the next step. Two local American Legion posts took care of that.

"The quilts were done so beautifully, but they needed funding to get them sent out," said Rainy Colling-Vickers.

The posts in McDonough and Oxford raised $210 for the mailing. On Monday, several members of the American Legion handed over the check in person.

"The quilt, to me, can mean more than just its vision," said American Legion Oxford Post Commander Fred Baker. "It is the warmth from the ladies' heart."

Hand-made cards written by local school children topped off the packages along with a few treats.

The quilters agree this definitely won't be the last year they undertake this endeavor.

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