Three serving brothers honoured with quilts

November 21, 2019 - Defence Stories

How Quilts of Valour™ Got Started

Lezley Zwaal, an Edmonton quilter, wanted to say “Thank You” and give some comfort to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members who returned from Afghanistan in 2006 and were recovering in hospital. She was not prepared for the impact of meeting these brave young men and learning first hand of their injuries. It made such an impression that Lezley established Quilts of Valour™ in Canada and has not looked back.

Quilts of Valour – Canada Society Launched

Through the encouragement and support and enthusiasm of other quilters, Quilts of Valour – Canada Society was formed in 2009 as a registered charity. Quilts have been delivered to more than 13,000 CAF members, past and present, who have been injured while deployed and at home, including those coping with injuries visible and invisible as they have worked to keep Canadians safe.

We hear touching stories of injured military members and their families; mothers tell us about their sons’ and daughters’ deployments and how they are worried every day for their child’s safe return home. We hear how post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has affected every member of the family, not just the military member, and how much a simple quilt makes a difference in their life.

Quilts of Valour – Canada Society (QOVC™) encourages volunteer quilters from across the country to make quilts for injured CAF members, The quilts come from individuals, groups and guilds, men and women quilters, young people, retired armed forces members themselves, and many with no connection to the military as a symbol of thanks and comfort.

Quilt size guidelines have been developed for quilters to follow, as well as the application of the QOVC™ provides a network to help complete the quilt, including binding and topstitching (more details are available on our website). QOVC™ representatives then ensure the quilts are distributed to CAF bases transition centres or other areas where required for the benefit of our injured military members.

The Flowers Brothers

At Quilt Canada in Ottawa, on June 15, three serving brothers were honoured by Quilts of Valour Canada™. MWO Harvey Flowers, Infantry has over 30 years of service including tours in Cyprus, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Latvia. MWO Rodney Flowers, MP, is in his 30th year of service and has served in Haiti, Bosnia, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq. CWO Paul Flowers, MSE (Op), also in his 30th year of service, has served in Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Alert. Among them they have over 90 years of military service, and while their years of service overlap, this was the first time they have been together publicly in uniform.

In addition, and by surprise, two of the brothers’ spouses were recognized. MWO Laurie Flowers has served for over 23 years including tours in Afghanistan, Kuwait and the Golan Heights. Capt (Ret’d) Brigitte Flowers, had 33 years of service with tours in Bosnia, Central Africa, and Afghanistan.

After the quilt presentations, each of these veterans took some time to test out our sewing machines and make blocks that will create quilts to comfort others.

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