Quilters make warm gesture to families of firefighters

NEIGHBORS

September 10, 2002|By Dana Klosner-Wehner | Dana Klosner-Wehner,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

PEOPLE ALL OVER the country are seeking ways to memorialize victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. Members of the Faithful Circle Quilters Guild, which meets at the First Presbyterian Church in Long Reach, believed the best way to show they cared was to do what they do best -- make quilts.

"A quilt is love made manifest," said Margo Cramer, a Kings Contrivance resident and guild member. "You can `hold' somebody with it and say, `We care about you.'"

The guild has made 40 quilts for 40 families of firefighters lost in the attack on the World Trade Center. The quilts were part of a larger project called "Hero Quilts/Adopt-A-Firehouse." The larger project was started by Susan Heydt of Pennsylvania and Colleen Rowell of New Jersey. Its goal was to have quilts made for the families of the 343 New York firefighters who were lost. The quilts were to be delivered before the first anniversary of the disaster.

"We attended a national quilters show just a couple of days after the attack," said Roma Knee, a guild member from Silver Spring who spearheaded the local effort. "I picked up a flier that said they were looking for lap-size and sofa-size quilts that could be used by the whole family. They had a list of all 343 firefighters and their fire stations."

"We originally thought we could make 13 quilts," Knee said. "In July, they told us they still needed 100 more quilts so we made 27 more since July."

The guild was given the names of 40 firefighters from seven fire stations who were lost in the World Trade Center disaster. Guild members began working on the quilts in October. Some made entire quilts; others made blocks to bring to meetings where fellow quilters could stitch the pieces together.

Many of the quilts had a red, white and blue theme. Others were made in vivid, cheerful colors. Some were made with children in mind, with fabrics showing Dalmatian puppies, fire hoses or firetrucks. Each quilt was labeled with the words, "For the family of [name]/FDNY Firefighter who gave his life in the service of his community and his country."

"The quilts are as individual as the individuals that were lost," said Barbara Laskowski, a guild member from Long Reach.

"After making quilts meant to warm and comfort people, shipping them seemed very cold," Knee said. So, Knee, Cramer, Laskowski, Virginia Fry of Fulton and Gwen Hartong of Kings Contrivance went to New York on Friday to deliver the 40 quilts to the firefighters' seven home stations.

The women made the rounds in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan in a limousine driven by a volunteer.

"Everything came together quickly," Fry said. "As soon as we decided we would deliver [the quilts] ourselves, we realized driving around New York would be difficult. One of my neighbors has a friend that's a limo driver in New York and that's how it all happened."

"We wanted to convey to the families that we are still thinking about them, and we care about them," Knee said. "Nothing says that like a quilt."

"When we got there the guys were real upbeat with a great attitude," Cramer said. "They were grateful for the quilts. Some unwrapped the quilts and posed for pictures with us. One of the guys even gave us T-shirts from the fire station."

"Overall it was a very moving experience," Laskowski said.

Champion lifeguards

Four east Columbia lifeguards took second place in one of two scenario events held at the 2002 Ellis and Associates International Lifeguard Championship on Aug. 2 and 3. The competition was held at Knott's Soak City in San Diego.

Twenty-seven teams competed; the Columbia Association lifeguards finished 10th overall.

Team members were Owen Brown resident Lindsay Hall, manager of the Huntington pool; Dalton Cramer, a resident of Oakland Mills and co-manager of the Dasher Green pool; and Kings Contrivance residents Colleen Tucci, assistant manager of the Huntington pool, and Ben Reisz, a lifeguard at that pool. Clarksville resident Erin Cohen, an assistant manager at the Hawthorn pool, attended the competition as an alternate.

Assistant Aquatics Director Darby Van Conover coached the team.

The team became eligible for the finals after winning third place at a northeast regional lifeguard competition in Agawam, Mass., in July.

Festival looms

There is still time to get involved in the 29th annual Lake Elkhorn Festival set for Sept. 28.

"This is a very family-oriented event sponsored by the Owen Brown village association," said village manager Ruth Bohse.

Entertainment will be provided by Dean Turner (known as the "Dean of Magic"), the Kinderman and a pet show.

The festival will feature games, pony rides and an auction of items donated by the Baltimore Orioles, Metzler's Nursery and Garden Center and Toby's Dinner Theater, among others.

The festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. near the pavilion by the lake. Information: 410-381-0202.

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