Checking Up … Quilters for Vets and the University | Editorials

Thumbs up to the 30 or so members of the Seven Hills Quilt Guild who presented several local veterans of the U.S. military service with a special token of appreciation earlier this week.

The initiative of the Quilts of Valor Foundation aims to honor veterans and active duty service members and thank them for their sacrifices to the nation. Monday night at Westminster-Canterbury, eight veterans were presented with their quilts, part of a larger ceremony focusing on each vet’s service highlights.

The foundation began in 2003 when one woman, Catherine Roberts, saw her son off to duty in the Iraq War. In a dream, she saw a soldier — wrapped in a quilt from home — fighting off homesickness and depression. Soon afterward, she made that dream a reality when she founded Quilts of Valor with the sole purpose to produce high-quality, handmade quilts to award to veterans and active duty servicemembers. On the foundation’s website, Roberts writes that she envisions “Quilts of Valor would be the civilian equivalent of a Purple Heart award” to honor the recipients.

The Seven Hills quilters began working with the foundation in 2014; since then, they’ve awarded 12 quilts to recipients throughout Central Virginia.

If you want to learn more about the national foundation and the work it does, visit the website,

Thumbs up to the University of Virginia and whoever it was on the staff of President Teresa Sullivan who came up with a wonderfully ironic way to pay back the Ku Klux Klan for a 1921 pledge to the university.

Back in 1921, the KKK, then a potent political force, pledged $1,000 to the university’s coffers. The story of the pledge got lost in the mists of history until it came to the public’s attention earlier this summer.

It was in the weeks prior to the Aug. 12 Unite the Right rally that a university professor wrote a blog essay about UVa’s history with racist and white supremacist organizations, recounting the story of the KKK’s pledge. (By the way, there’s no record the Klan ever made good on the pledge itself.)

The violent and deadly rally of white supremacists shocked Charlottesville and the nation, exposing still-raw wounds in the community. Counter-protester Heather Heyer, a Charlottesville resident, was killed when a white supremacist rallygoer plowed his car into a crowd of people; more than a dozen were injured, some quite severely.

University leaders looked at that 1921 pledge from the KKK and saw a wrong that needed to be corrected. Amends had to be made for the university’s acceptance of that racist blood money. So they took that amount of $1,000, calculated its inflation-adjusted value to be just shy of $13,000 in 2017 and announced the money would be returned to the public good by covering the medical bills of those injured on Aug. 12.

Well done, UVa. Well done.