Wednesday morning, a group form the Welca War and Peace Quilters of McPherson gathered outside the McPherson Fire Department for the raising of a special flag.
The flag was a gift to the quilters from Capt. Jon Pheifer of the U.S. Army. The quilters presented Pheifer and his family with a quilt eight years ago.
The special flag was flown aboard an AC130H Gunship named Wicked Wanda on Nov. 26, 2012, in Afghanistan.
The War and Peace quilters are a volunteer group that participate in a variety of projects that benefit active service personnel, veterans and their families.
This is the fourth flag that has been presented to the group for their service and the second one that has been flown in McPherson.
Connie McCue, one of the quilters, who is also known as Grandma Hugs, sang the “Star Spangled Banner” at the flag ceremony Wednesday morning.
“I had goose bumps,” she said. “It gave me a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart. I looked at the flag, and knowing that it had flown in Afghanistan made so proud and made me want to support our young men and women in the military.”
The War and Peace Quilters have donated 1,300 quilts to service people over the years, and McCue said she can remember every one.
Last year, the quilters began an additional project to support military families. War and Peace members were moved by the number of suicides among military personnel and felt compelled to do something to let as many military men and women know they are loved and appreciated, McCue said.
The group sent 13,000 hand-signed Christmas cards to military personnel. In 2013, the group started in January with a goal to provide 20,000 cards.
Learning Tree donated 2,500 cards, and Hallmark in Kansas City donated 4,000 cards. Then Edison Co. of New Jersey came forward with a donation of 25,588 cards for the project. The 1,000 pounds of cards came by pallet. It took the group all year to complete the cards, but the group was able to send 45,000 hand-signed cards to service personnel this Christmas.
The group comprises seven core members who volunteer regularly in the basement of Trinity Lutheran Church three days per week with another 13 part-time members.
As the year comes to a close, the group is trying to gathering calendars for the soldiers at Fort Riley. McCue said the calendars are friendly reminders of home. Some local businesses have given the group calendars, but the quilters are trying to gather 20,000 total calendars for the project. Calendars can be donated until the end of the year and dropped off at Trinity Lutheran Church.
The quilters work on other projects throughout the year, including mini-afghans and beds for service dogs.
Page 2 of 2 - Donations to the program can be dropped off at Trinity Lutheran Church, 119 N. Elm St., McPherson. Anyone interested in joining the quilters can contact McCue at 620-242-7662.