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Moms Love Quilts
Katelyn Robinson and Abigail Leavitt, both 11 years old, pose with veterans who are now policemen and their quilts Dec. 16, 2011, in Henderson, Nev. Leavitt and Robinson donated these quilts on behalf of the local organization, Moms Love Quilts, which distributed more than 1,000 quilts to veterans and active duty service members in 2010. Currently attempting to gain 501(c)3 status, the organization has received donations from as far away as San Diego, Calif., and has donated quilts to locations as far-reaching as Wyoming. (U.S. Air Force photo by Benjamin Newell/Released)
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Quilts bring a personal touch when saying thank you to vets

Posted 12/19/2011   Updated 12/19/2011 Email story   Print story


by Benjamin Newell
Nellis Public Affairs

12/19/2011 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- If you are a veteran, beware of 11-year-old, strawberry blonde Abigail Leavitt and her quilts. They will stop your heart.

Leavitt and her friend, 11-year-old Katelyn Robinson, deliver handmade lap quilts to veterans and active duty service members throughout the Las Vegas valley as part of an effort by the local group Moms Love Quilts, which seeks to put a quilt in the hands of military members of all ages and from all services.

"I've seen big, burly, square-jawed Marines melt and cry after getting a quilt from these kids," said Tami Leavitt, co-founder of Moms Love Quilts. "Some of these people just don't get the appreciation they deserve, and haven't for decades."

Tami Leavitt calls her daughter Abigail and her daughter's friend the Bobbsey Twins, and they do resemble the book series' title characters. Though both slight, they have been known to bring low the toughest service members.

"Sometimes the soldiers cry and hug me," said Abigail Leavitt. "Backbreaking, big hugs."

To make these quilts, Tami Leavitt has turned some of her home into a production facility. In 2010 alone, she produced 1,028 quilts. The quilts are made of donated material from throughout the valley and each quilt is individualized so that no two are made of the same cuts of cloth.

"These quilts are just a great gesture from Moms Love Quilts and these kids," said Ken Kerby, Henderson Police Department background investigator and a quilt recipient. "I know all the recipients are grateful and really like these."

Tami Leavitt explained that the organization has accepted donations from as far as San Diego, and presented blankets as far away as Wyoming. Children often decorate portions of the blankets, lending individuality to products which can sometimes seem generic.

"We've had kids decorate blankets with games and stories, so veterans have something to do when they're bored," said Tami Leavitt. "One child who was probably from Idaho even drew a potato on his blanket with a simple note that said 'have one!' The most touching show reunions between kids and their parents; those always get me."

12/24/2011 5:17:32 PM ET
OMG This photo is great.
Rubi, NYC
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