Well-wishers feather Huntley quilters' funds

HUNTLEY – About two months ago, local Quilts of Valor volunteers who make lap-sized blankets as a thank-you to area veterans were on the verge of retiring their sewing needles.

Demand for the quilts was slowing and the group’s start-up money was vanishing.

Now, though, the group is in business for 18 months more because of overwhelming response to a late-October Northwest Herald article on the plight of the Huntley-based group.

“We have had a huge response,” said Sue Bruss, who founded the group with fellow Sun City resident Jan Meyer. “We were floored. We never expected that kind of outpouring.”

The local group started after Bruss and Meyer heard about the national Quilts of Valor organization at a quilting convention. They were given $6,000 in start-up money to form a local chapter, after making quilts for area veterans at a special event in 2011.

Last fall, the money had dwindled to about $200 and the founders feared it would run out at the end of the year.

Then the community responded. Bruss, Meyer and the group’s 30 volunteers received donations from $10 to $500. A local firefighters union gave $250 and challenged colleagues across northern Illinois to match or beat the donation.

The quilters now have about $3,000 to buy the high-quality fabric they need to make quilts.

The chapter has presented quilts to hundreds of veterans, including 20 at Transitional Living Services in Hebron on Thursday.

“We are always looking for people and recipients – a brother and uncle who has never been recognized,” Bruss said.