The Quilts of Valor Foundation returned to Paducah's National Quilt Museum last week, collecting two exhibits under its banner in tribute to veterans across the country.

"An exhibit of the Quilts of Valor is a personal way to recognize and honor the service of our veterans," explained museum curator Rachael Baar. "We support the Quilts of Valor Foundation mission 'to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.'"

The museum's executive director, Frank Bennett, was overjoyed to be working with the foundation again.

"I am always so honored to partner with the Quilts of Valor Foundation to do an exhibit and event of quilts honoring veterans," he said. "We do this exhibit every three to four years, and it's always one of our most emotional exhibits."

Within the Quilts of Valor are two distinct collections of quilts, "A 50 State Salute" and "Old Glory."

Quilts in "A 50 State Salute" feature patriotic designs both simple and complex.

"Old Glory Quilts" were created by artists with a military connection, focusing on patriotic heritage and serving the military family. Red, white and blue tops were finished by longarm quilters to go in this exhibit.

The quilters received the top, backing, and the instructions "quilt as desired." They donated their time and talent. When they complete their travel, the quilts will be auctioned to raise funds for Quilts of Valor.

Members of Quilts of Valor Foundation range from young beginning quilters in the "Under Our Wings" program to experienced members who have been making Quilts of Valor for many years.

Over 18 of these pieces will be awarded to veterans and military members who have been touched by war during a ceremony at the end of the exhibit's run in January.

The free ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. Jan. 14 in the National Quilt Museum.

A Quilt of Valor is a lifetime award. Requests for Quilts of Valor are sometimes referred to as "nominations." Any individual may request a Quilt of Valor for a service member or veteran touched by war, or an individual may request a Quilt of Valor for himself or herself.

To learn more about Quilts of Valor, visit the organization's website, www.qovf.org.

The National Quilt Museum, located in downtown Paducah, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Saturday and from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

For more information about the museum or upcoming exhibits, visit www.quiltmuseum.org.

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