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Grateful Threads celebrates veterans

Grateful Threads, a local group of ladies who volunteer their time and talents towards making quilts for groups across Sumter County presented their gifts to the latest group they chose to honor. Sumter County veterans were treated with the respect due them at First United Methodist Church (FUMC) on June 28. Daryl Brown, Senior Pastor of FUMC, welcomed the veterans, the quilters and the community as the celebration began. After offering a prayer, the crowd stood tall for the Pledge of Allegiance as well as the National Anthem.

At 94 years old, veteran Jack Busby is presented with his quilt. Photo by Donnie McCrary

Valerie Duff the Guild President also offered a welcome to the crowd and spoke words of the Grateful Thread’s gratitude in being of service. Valerie reports the group has chosen to honor cancer patients, foster children and lastly veterans. Lee Street Methodist Church houses the group in their parsonage across the street and they are grateful to have such a space to do their work. They welcome anyone interested to come join them. In addition, if you are a Sumter County veteran and would like to receive one of their beautiful works of art, please contact them. Their Facebook page is Grateful Threads and the phone contact for them is 229.938.9830.

The Grateful Threads Quilting Guild Photo by Donnie McCrary

Dr. Dennis Stalvey the Senior Pastor at Lee Street United Methodist Church blessed the quilts. “These quilts given today represent a ministry of comfort and gratitude for service to our great nation. These quilts given today are from dedicated hands and hearts.” Dennis then asked God’s divine blessing upon the “creations of love and appreciation with a hope their destination will remind these veterans and their families of the labors of love invested in each quilt.” The pastor went on to pray for the quilts to be an ongoing reminder of people in “our community and world still love and serve one another.”

Laura Gerlach, another guild member called each of the 33 veterans forward individually by their name, branch, and length of service. As the veteran came forward, their quilt was presented so the entire crowd could see the intricate work and love that was invested in each one. The veterans received applause for their service and dedication. The quilt was passed through the hands of several guild members and lovingly folded into a special bag for the veterans to carry their gift of honor home in. The veterans receiving a quilt are Bobby Avant, William Theodore Baldwin, III, Dillon Bell, Raymond Bridges, John Brown, Willie Brown, Jack Busby, Robert Coleman, Sr., Hugh DeLoach, Larry Dinsmore, Michael Dominick, Jr., Chuck Hanks, Horace Harvey, Jr., Robert Ingle, Jr., Robert Ingle, Sr., Cricket Johnson, Earnest Mansfield, John McLeRoy, Thomas Moore, John Morris, David Page, Johnnie Raven, Jr., Joey Recker, Ray Recker, Leo Root, Jr., Michael Ruckman, Virgil Salter, Charles Smith, Deloris Smith, Kelly Wayne Sprouse, Jon Suggs and Justin Walton.

Veteran and long time Sumter County law enforcement officer, Chuck Hanks is honored at the event. Photo by: Tracy K. Hall

To close the ceremony, Dr. Stalvey offered the benediction and the veterans all gathered for photographs and to receive once again a thank you for their service. Sumter County is blessed to be home to ladies and gentlemen who have dedicated their lives to serving the people of our great nation. It is also an honor to be home to outstandingly talented and generous hearts such as the ladies of Grateful Threads. If you would like to join the ladies, who refer to themselves as a “group committed to sharing warmth with our community” please know they welcome anyone who simply would like to try. No prior experience, and certainly no prior success is required. What might be beneficial is a propensity to enjoy fine company, and to offer what you have to the greater good.