September 2002 Newsletter
Hope this letter finds you all well,
Here in the North East the air is becoming crisp and kissing the apples red. The fall winds seem to color the scenery with a magical touch. As always my challenge is to BRIEFLY share with you all a month of events.
Orders of Business - This month has been very busy and the quilt has jumped leaps and bounds. We are awaiting papers from the state to begin our journey as a non profit organization. I have been busy with working on the legalities and paper work to make this happen. I have much to learn about the laws of non profit and fund raising for that purpose but our legal team is great and is offering more support then I thought possible! While I will continue to seek more panels and promote this gift we are giving, I will also be working to raise over $80,000 to complete the production. Fund raising is a hard part of this project. Over the past year the quilt has taken in only $200 and donations of products. We have worked together as a nation and yes a world to make this happen. The conclusive product will need the funds and we are working on some ideas for raising them. One we are working on is benefit dinners and dances. I am grateful for those of you that have offered to do them in your state and sponsor my travel. I have received many ideas from some of you and I am very grateful for your input. Keep them coming. Again if we work together the load is lessened.
The month of Sept. has been very busy and moved the quilt to a point of expansion. Here in my home office I have the great pleasure of introducing you all to Tasha, my new assistant. I’m sure you will all enjoy her. We will be adding an email address for her to the site and you may even get to talk with her when you call. Tasha is volunteering her time to this project. Another great American! We also have a local company helping with our website. A special thanks to CJNJMicro for their donation of time and skill. Do to the great response form all over the country on 9/11 of this year, we have added two new state Reps. Pat from MO. and Debbie from IL. They are both go getters and have been an immense help for the quilt. If anyone from those states would like to hook up with either lady, just send an email to me. Which leads me too another helper, Josh has taken on the position of working with the state Reps here at the office. Most of his work will be via email, he is a retired Veteran and a small business owner himself.
Media - This month alone we hit media in 7 states. TV news in 3, Radio in 4 and print in 3. I know the numbers don’t add up, but in some states we over lapped! This has been wonderful for adding to the quilt. Every time it adds new panels and contacts for even more! Great job everyone!
Plans - Right now the quilt is working hard for Make A Difference Day. On Oct. 26th people will be doing signings in many states. Some will be public and others will be private. Either way it adds to the quilt and we are working together on a specific day to unite and honor! Locally we will be doing at least 4 public signings on this day. If you would like more info please let me know and I will get it to you. I will add you to the Make A Difference Day site and send you a news release.
I also have lined up a few speaking engagements. I have to say that when people invite me to tell about all of you and your hard work, I jump at the chance!
Many of you have asked about the quilt coming to visit. While I wish we could stop at every place that has added a panel, this is also a budget problem. As the funding becomes available I will let you all know. If your organization would like to sponsor the quilt to visit, let me know and we can work out the details.
Stories - This past month has given me too much to write about! First I have to tell you about the Hathaway Shirt Company showing. In one word, fantastic. They were great! I want to tell you every min of detail but I will share with you only a visual that moved me to speechless. It was very hot and many of these men and woman were working so hard to make this work. When you’re in the middle of setting up 5,000 sq. ft. of fabric, you really have no idea of the big picture. In the midst of the set up I realized I had around 15 women that had become my mothers and were asking me if I ate, if I needed a drink……They were so sweet. But just then I realized I needed a coffee! I slipped away to my van and headed to the coffee shop. As I drove to the exit of the parking lot I turned to look back. What I saw was SO American! It was like a barn raising. They all worked together to piece this quilt to a whole. I sat at the exit, watching as people from the oldest shirt company of its kind in this great country, working to create this flag/quilt for a mere hour then to have it folded up again. I take so much pride in saying I know them all. Thanks to Hathaway, all the helpers and a special thanks to Marianne for her constant support. Marianne has also promised to teach me to play golf! I think we may get kicked off the greens for talking and laughing too much!
On Sept. 8th I packed up the quilt, four volunteers and headed to CT. for a showing to take place on the 9th. This trip is something I will never forget. Upon arrival in Danbury and after getting unlost(for you students reading this, this is not a real word!) I had the great honor of meeting our friend Col. Steve and his wife Liz. They drove from the West Point reunion to Danbury to give me their panel. As they got out of their car I was filled with the joy I get when I meet those of you I have been blessed to converse with. As Liz held out her hand to shake mine, I started to reach for her hand but, well those of you that know me…….. I hugged her then Col. Steve too! They are a lovely couple and got the trip off to a wonderful start. The panel is beautiful and filled with names from many that were at the reunion. The memorial for there lost class mate and their crest create a great sense of pride. It is moving for me to look at each name knowing that they signed over their lives to protect us and our freedom. A great addition to this quilt!
As for the 9th, it was a day of things just falling into place. Thinking I was going the wrong way, I pulled down a side street to turn around. It only took me a minute to realize I was in the parking lot of St. Joseph Catholic School. Just were we needed to be! As we began to set up, a young boy and his mother were looking on to see what we were doing. I walked over to say hello and came face to face with the local Fire Marshal. So needless to say, within a half hour there was a fire truck and three firemen there! I’m not sure my words will do any justice to the visuals that I saw. It was beyond amazing! The entire school came out and circled around the quilt. Three hundred children stood in uniforms around a giant flag. They sang the National Anthem and it was my turn to speak. I have to tell you, I cried as every word trickled from my tongue. I was looking at our future as they looked at all the hard work you all have done. It was the grandest of moments since the day this quilt began. As the service ended the children formed a single line and walked through the quilt as they sang God Bless America, all 300 of them. I was proud to show all your work and I was proud to be in that parking lot. I was the proudest American at that moment, knowing full well how lucky we are and how bright our future is! We are a caring country with a new respect for heroes, a great unity to offer those so affected by 9/11 and those who risk their lives daily for our safety. And yes, I hugged! I hugged teachers, children, firemen, parents and MaryAnne my contact there at St. Joseph! We had so much help folding the quilt up that it was done in 15 min. flat!
I will be sending you another update soon with my Sept. 11th stories and a few more. Sheer pride is the swelling in my chest as I show all your panels, tell the stories and anticipate the arrival of more. You all are what makes this project what it is, you all are the Heart of America Quilt. And I? I am the most fortunate woman to have had contact with you all!
Joy to you all,
Copyright HoAQ 2002©