Millie’s quest: ‘Quilts of Valor’ to honor vets

Veterans to receive Quilts of Valor in special ceremony Friday

Millie Beach displays one of the Quilts of Valor she helped make for veterans at Holiday Retirement's Edgewood Downs in Beaverton, November 9, 2017 (KOIN)
Millie Beach displays one of the Quilts of Valor she helped make for veterans at Holiday Retirement's Edgewood Downs in Beaverton, November 9, 2017 (KOIN)

BEAVERTON, Ore. (KOIN) — About 6 months ago, Millie Beach moved into a Beaverton retirement home and decided right then she wanted to do something special to give veterans who live there a warm feeling, inside and out.

Millie, who’s 83, has been sewing since she was 3. “I’ve always sewed and I said I’d never quilt. That was the last thing I wanted to do was quilt.”

Clothing was her passion, not quilting.

A Quilt of Valor made by Millie Beach and a team of volunteers to give to the veterans at Holiday Retirement's Edgewood Downs in Beaverton, November 9, 2017 (KOIN)
A Quilt of Valor made by Millie Beach and a team of volunteers to give to the veterans at Holiday Retirement’s Edgewood Downs in Beaverton, November 9, 2017 (KOIN)

“Well, when I was young it was just doing it by hand and putting all these little squares together,” she told KOIN 6 News. “I didn’t want to do that.”

But that all changed after a visit to Montavilla Sewing Center.

“And one of the gals that was doing one of the classes was doing the Quilts of Valor. ‘Millie, I want you to get involved with this,'” she said. “So I did and it’s just been the best thing I’ve ever done.”

A Wall of Honor for the veterans at Holiday Retirement's Edgewood Downs in Beaverton, November 9, 2017 (KOIN)
A Wall of Honor for the veterans at Holiday Retirement’s Edgewood Downs in Beaverton, November 9, 2017 (KOIN)

The Quilts of Valor Foundation is a national non-profit with volunteers across the country. Their mission is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing quilts.

Millie got choked up talking about how much these Quilts of Valor mean to her. “I can just feel it inside. I’ve got goosebumps talking about it.”

Since May, Millie and a team of women have been crafting quilts for veterans at Holiday Retirement’s Edgewood Downs, where Millie is a new resident.

There are 22 veterans who will receive their Quilts of Valor in a special ceremony Friday. Each has a special label “with their name and who pieced them.” Each has a certain standard, and the colors are patriotic: red, white and blue.

Among the recipients on Friday are Wes Post, Bill Lamb and Audrey Gagampang.

A patch on a Quilt of Valor made by Millie Beach and a team of volunteers to give to the veterans at Holiday Retirement's Edgewood Downs in Beaverton, November 9, 2017 (KOIN)
A patch on a Quilt of Valor made by Millie Beach and a team of volunteers to give to the veterans at Holiday Retirement’s Edgewood Downs in Beaverton, November 9, 2017 (KOIN)

Post, 78, served in the Oregon Army National Guard and said the quilts he’s seen “are beautiful. I just appreciated being recognized as a civilian veteran, you know?”

Lamb, a 91-year-old World War 2 vet, said the quilt is “pretty neat. It will keep me warm. It’s been cold here a couple days.”

Gagampang served in the Women’s Army Corp with a top secret clearance in the early 1960s. “It was during the Cuban crisis and Kennedy’s assassination and it was right before Vietnam.”

Millie told her about the Quilt of Valor. “I’m proud that I served and I’m proud that they’re honoring us,” Gagampang said. “It means a lot, really.”

John Crawford, a Vietnam veteran, received a quilt on Friday.

“There are too many veterans,” Crawford said. “Sometimes we don’t feel appreciated. Today I do. When I came home from Vietnam I did not feel appreciated. Today I do.”

These Quilts of Valor are a small token of Millie Beach’s gratitude.

“They’ve done so much for us and this is just nothing. But it’s what we can do.”

Watch below to see veterans receive Mille’s Quilts of Valor.