BY MELANIE BUCK –
A local group of quilters have given gifts that could last a lifetime for the children of local National Guard Unit, Charlie Company. The Nimble Thimbles Quilt Guild have spent the last year stitching quilts to donate to fathers in Charlie Company that are preparing to deploy to the Horn of Africa.
Ann Ferris, member of Nimble Thimbles, explained to the soldiers, “We decided that what we would like to do is make quilts for your children, so that while you are gone, they can be wrapped in a quilt when they miss you the most and feel the warmth. So that they can feel our support and our love and know that you love them so much and can’t wait to be home with them. We are really grateful for your service.”
Fifteen quilters donated 84 quilts, all made from cloth that is red, white, and/or blue, with patriotic prints, for the children, sized up for different ages. Each father was able to take a quilt for each of their children, no matter how many they had. SSG Arley Rivas, of DeQueen, has a 19-month old baby girl with another on the way, and was emotional over the donation. “It just shows the support we have in our community and it really means a lot that the people here in Mena are supporting our deployment and making sure our loved ones are being taken care of and that they feel loved also. It’s tough for them and something like this really means a lot. It will bring comfort to my wife and my kids.”
One local soldier, Brad Basehar, from Mena, has a three-year old daughter, Lilly, and the support meant a lot to him as well. “Its something for her to remember me by while I’m gone. She loves everything about me being in the Army and she understands what it all is. This will give her something to really remember what I’m doing for her and what I’m trying to do to make our lives better and make myself a better person for her. I think it will mean a lot to her. I’m proud to be from here and I like the people here. I like that I’m stationed local, it’s convenient and it’s just all around a good decision to do what I’m doing and I’m glad I got to do it.”
Debbie Thompson, also a member of Nimble Thimbles, said, “We do greatly appreciate all the sacrifices they and their families make. We wanted to do the project for the kids so that they will think of their dads while their gone. It’s rewarding to support those that fight for our country, and we are so grateful that they do. Several of them were so appreciative and came up and thanked us and shook our hands. That made us feel good that it was a worthwhile project.”
The 139 soldiers from Charlie Company will deploy to the Horn of Africa in the coming weeks, following a stint of training at Fort Chaffee in Fort Smith. The Company will be deployed for approximately one year.