Welcome to "Quilts of Honor - the Travis Project"

Quilts of Honor - the Travis Project, was created out of a desire to honor not only the memory of SSG Travis Hunsberger, but to show honor and respect to the men and women he served with. I made a quilt for Steve & Ronda, Travis' parents, and presented the idea of making more quilts for the soldiers at Fort Bragg. There are numerous wonderful organizations who provide quilts to wounded and hospitalized soldiers, but I felt led to do something different. We decided our first project would be to provide a quilt to each of the men in Travis' unit at the time of his death. Our goal was to accomplish this by Christmas. I am happy to report that we have exceeded our goal, and on December 10 2008, two men from our church, Wakarusa Missionary, headed off to North Carolina to deliver 19 quilts!! In May of 2009, we were able to deliver another 33 quilts!! Since then, we have delivered approximately 40 more quilts to families of the fallen and also to Wounded Warriors. Your help is still needed in lots of ways if we are to keep this project ongoing. First and foremost, pray for these brave men and women who serve each day to keep us free and protect us from those who would seek to do our nation harm. If you are a sewist or quilter, I can use you, if you would like to donate fabric or funds, I can use you. If you'd like to leave an encouraging word, or perhaps you knew Travis and would like to share a memory, I can use that too!

For more information on how you can help, contact me through this blog, by phone @ 574-849-7930, or by email, mamabech@msn.com.

To mail donations, send them to:

Quilts of Honor, c/o Dawn Bechtel, P.O. Box 613, Wakarusa, IN 46573. (Checks should be made out to Quilts of Honor.)

Thanks for stopping by, God bless you, and God Bless America!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Missing quilt. . .

The "lost" quilt showed up!!! I received a message today from the mother of the wounded warrior I had sent a quilt to the beginning of December, that the quilt arrived today!!  I am thrilled to know that it was a postal delay instead of ending up in the wrong place!

UPDATE:  My contact in New York will be delivering three quilts to Walter Reed on January 26th.   I am very grateful for the many supportive people from all over who have graciously responded to our project and helped in numerous ways.

We still need donations of quilts, quilt tops, and monetary donations to continue to send Quilts of Honor to the families of the fallen, and to the heroes who are recovering from their injuries.  Please pray with me that our needs will be met and we can continue to send these tokens of support to those who need to know that we honor them, support them, and thank them for the sacrifices they've made.

God bless all who serve and GOD BLESS AMERICA!!

"Freedom is not free"

Monday, January 9, 2012

Frustrations. . .

I'm not sure that I've ever written a post sharing frustrations...I will apologize up front.  Time always seems to slip away from me and I fall behind on updating and posting. 

On September 11th, Steve & Ronda and I had the privilege of joining with several of the families the project has allowed us to meet, for a picnic and time of reflection.  We gathered at the pavilion near the War Memorial and enjoyed a fantastic cookout.  We were treated to a bagpipe serenade (very unexpected and humbling), by a man who came on his own, to pay tribute to our heroes.  In the afternoon our local Cub Scouts had a special ceremony at the Memorial and we all participated.  I cannot even begin to explain the gamut of emotions that flowed that day...so hard to believe that 10 years have passed already.

On Veteran's Day weekend, we were again privileged to be joined by several of Travis' buddies for a ceremony honoring vets past and present and those who gave their lives.  It was held at the University of Notre Dame during the men's basketball game.  Again, a very humbling and emotional experience.

In late October, through Facebook and a very dear friend, I learned of a unit who had suffered not only several casualties, but severe injuries as well.  Ronda and I were in agreement that we wanted the project to reach out to these men as well.  One of the young men is a native of Indiana.  We shipped quilts to three of these amazing heroes.  There are many days that I feel very unworthy of the task at hand.  I am in the company of men and woman who have sacrificed SO MUCH!!!

And now for my major frustration. . . On December 13th I shipped, as usual, by Priority Mail, a quilt to a 4th injured warrior in Maryland.  It has not yet been received.  Through tracking I have learned it made it to a nearby mail facility, but that's as far as it goes.  My heart wants to believe it is lost...my mind tells me it has been stolen.  That is a first for this project, either way.  I will re-ship through a connection I have in that area who will personally deliver this quilt.  What frustrates and angers me, is that whoever opened that box (if indeed that's what has happened), read the brochure and card, the label on the quilt, even just the address on the box!  To think that someone would deter this gift from reaching it's destination is beyond my comprehension.  The women who willingly and lovingly donate their time, talents,and resources to this project have been cheated.  The soldier who was to receive the quilt has been cheated.  My prayer is that whatever hands it fell into, guilt will win out at some point and it will be used for it's intended purpose.  I know that person may never read this post unless they go to it from the brochure.  If they do...no hard feelings, I guess you needed it more than the hero who has sacrificed his health and future for you and me. . .

With sadness in my heart I read of the four Indiana National Guardsmen lost in Afghanistan this past week.  Please remember the families and friends of these brave men in the coming days and months. . . We will do our best to reach them with our quilts.

I've never been good at soliciting funds, but the account is running low again.  We have been able to accomplish SO MUCH because of the generosity of so many.  I am at a loss of words to explain just what it means to Steve & Ronda and their family, and to me, to have the support of you all!  From the families we've met comes gratitude as well.  I have gained some precious, lifelong friends because of Quilts of Honor...Travis would be pleased. 

Please consider how you may help us continue to serve in gratitude and love for 2012.                      

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Quilt distributions and Thank-you's!!

Where has summer gone?? Soon the leaves will be turning and the snow falling! Our project continues to move forward, seeking ways to reach the families of the fallen. . .
A very HUGE Thank-you to Chris of Lolly's Fabrics in Shipshewana, who delivered 21 finished quilts to me this week! Her store participated in a Quilts of Valor/Soldier Quilts project, and she very generously donated some to our project. What beautiful works of art and care and compassion we have been receiving! We have been able to finish quilts with the donations given earlier this year and begin to set up appointments for distribution.
Steve and Ronda Hunsberger coordinate the meetings with other families and have been a tremendous source of support, encouragement, and help. Their heart of compassion for others who, like themselves, have experienced the ultimate sacrifice is amazing! We have been able to meet with 5 families so far and plans for more meetings are in the works. If you are reading this and are the family member of a fallen soldier, or personally know someone, PLEASE contact me. We are doing our best to reach the families in Indiana, but it takes time. It can be from any state, we are focusing on Indiana, but will certainly not turn away anyone! It has been our mission from the start to share support, love, and compassion through the comfort of a quilt.
While in my heart I wish that I would not be meeting these families for this reason, it is an honor and a privilege to spend some time with them. . .to hear their stories and the stories of their loved one. My life changed on June 27, 2008 and God willing, I will never be the same!
Following are a few pictures from our recent gatherings. I'm choosing not to identify individuals to respect their privacy. When you look at them, see the faces of the men and women who serve to keep us free. Say a prayer for the ones left behind, and one for those still serving and protecting. I will never stop reminding us all. . . our freedom is not free!! God bless you and God bless the USA

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thank-you isn't enough. . .

Since my last posting, donations have poured in! Many, many thanks to the American Legion Riders, Sons of the American Legion, American Legion Post 154, and the American Legion Auxiliary 154! Other personal monetary donations have been received as well. Many hours of sewing and quilting have been donated by a wonderful group of ladies. I was able to set up a display at Nappanee's Second Saturday event on June 12th. A customer from the store where I work dropped of five completed quilt tops, our sewing club made quilt blocks, and several more ladies are bringing in finished quilts in the next few weeks! I am completely humbled and extremely grateful!! Steve and Ronda have been able to make contact with a couple local families and have been delivering the completed quilts. God bless them for their willingness to share in this way. We are currently looking for a way to contact the families of the fallen here in Indiana so that they know we are "legit". If you are reading this blog and have lost a loved one in conflict since 9/11 or personally know someone who has, PLEASE email me at mamabech@msn.com with contact information. We want to get our quilts wrapped around those who need them most. . .

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Thank-you never seems like enough to say when people give so generously! The last year has been difficult. . . As I've sought direction and guidance as to where to go with this project, I kept seemingly running into walls instead of open doors. In December in a conversation with two good friends, things changed. Thank you Mike and Tracey for your generous donation that allowed me to purchase the materials I needed to finish the 12 quilt tops that have been laying in my sewing room waiting. Through them I also had the honor of speaking to the American Legion Riders of Nappanee. Before I left that evening, I had a check in hand that will allow me to do some great things to keep the project alive! And it's not stopping! Meetings are being scheduled with other organizations that want to hear about what we are doing and possibly support us. Thank you Mike for being excited and for spreading the word and handing out brochures! After talking to Ronda about some ideas shared with me, it was exciting to learn she and Steve had also been thinking of some of the same things. A few changes will be made to how we distribute quilts. Our focus, for now, is going to be the families of fallen Indiana soldiers. Our desire is to continue to bring comfort in a small way, and to show our support for those who serve and those who sacrifice. As we work out the details, I will share more at a later date.
And I cannot forget to say a HUGE Thank-you to the faithful women who help me sew, quilt, and finish our quilts! They are some of the most caring, kind, and wonderful people and great friends! Thank-you Carolyn, Sandy, Rose Ann, Lynn, & Connie for jumping in to help keep the ball rolling! Special thanks to Lois for her beautiful works of art and the time and care she puts into every quilt she sews. I know I have not mentioned every person by name, and I apologize. I am overwhelmed. . . God is good! I am excited to be able to be a part of this project. I am humbled by the response. My heart aches for those who have lost a loved one in service to our country. May we never, ever forget that our freedom is not free!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Time flies...

There are no good excuses for my lapse in keeping this current. So much has happened since I last wrote.
June 27th marked the 2nd anniversary of Travis' death. Not a day goes by that his sacrifice is not remembered. Thank-you Travis, and the thousands like you, you gave it all...
Travis' sister Kelsey and his buddy, Luis Morales, were wed this past July in a beautiful outdoor ceremony at the family home. Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Morales and may the Lord bless you with a long and happy life together!!
Travis' brother Kyle continues his training with the National Guard. God bless you Kyle and Samantha as you serve our country!
I am still in need of help to complete some unfinished quilts. I have not been able to make a delivery, because I do not want to go with just a few quilts, when I know a greater number are needed. I just received a donation on Saturday that will help tremendously! I will admit, I have been somewhat discouraged...in the beginning stages response was amazing, almost overwhelming at times. It has slowed down alot. I know times are tough for many, but the fact remains, daily our soldiers are working to protect us and the freedoms we hold dear. I cannot let this project die...no more then I can stop reminding people that our Freedom is NOT free!
Please, won't you prayerfully consider how you might help the Quilts of Honor - Travis Project before 2010 comes to a close...
Thank-you in advance and God bless you!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Help is needed. . .

Time seems to fly by so quickly these days. . . Here we are, already into April and there is SO much to be done! We are in need of many things to keep this project going. First, time. . . such a valuable commodity! I have been given 12 pieced quilt tops. A couple need a border added to make them a bit larger, and they all need to be quilted, then binding put on. I simply cannot do it by myself, I wish I could. Second, I need the batting and backing to go along with these tops. (Either donated or the funds needed to purchase.) Third, someone willing to do simple machine quilting at little or no charge. Fourth, quilts fully completed. Fifth, help in adding the binding to finished quilts. And sixth, monetary donations to cover the expenses not donated. It costs approximately $80-$150 per quilt to finish, depending on the size. I have received some fabric donations which is greatly appreciated! Right now, we have 20 quilts (once the 12 are complete), and I'd like to have 30. Please consider how you might be able to help us keep supporting the families who have have lost a soldier in the continued war on terror.

Following is a quote from one of the first to receive a quilt from the Travis Project. This young man served alongside Travis in Afghanistan and was with him when he was killed...
"I'd like to thank all of those who support us here in the military. The quilt that I was given has been part of my life in the past few months. I've traveled across the United States with it, it helped me make my travel from North Carolina to California very warm. What it stands for will always be in my heart, I once again thank you all who have been close to us and aided us to feel safe at home once again."