The explanation was simple, though it always came with a slight stretch of the truth.

They were stopping by Lois Dixon's house for coffee in Moline.

The group, who are heroines with their hands, admit the truth gets a bit stretchy after that.

For months, this amazing group, 14 in all,  brushed aside questions as to how sitting down to early morning coffee at the Dixons could, and many times would, cover most of the day?

And not everyone drank coffee.

Still, with a steadfast non-truth in their holster, the heroines with their hands persisted and finally completed their mission.

Thursday, at the Exchange Club of the Quad Cities' annual "Proudly We Hail'' dinner to honor veterans, the secret kept so tight by our heroines with their hands came to light. 

Being presented with Quilts of Valor at East Moline's Windmill Restaurant were Wendell Grasz, United States Army; Bob Hellstrom, United States Navy; Joe Johnson, Army; Jim Moews, United States Air Force; Dale Nimrick, Army; Jerry Piper, National Guard; Daryl Reitz, National Guard; Floyd Stockwell, Air Force; Tom Swinburn, National Guard; Tom Viscioni, Air Force; and Ralph Wilshusen, Navy.

Quilts that took weeks to plan and months to bring to life. Quilts that began with a photo, a hand-drawn pattern and featured a nameplate for each Exchange Club veteran honored. Quilts that in appreciation for their service were prayed over for the life of the veteran who would receive it.

The project was personal; it was heartfelt. By the looks of the quilts shared Thursday they created a lifetime of memories.

"Lots of planning,'' smiled Dixon, who hosted the group of 14 in bringing to life the gorgeous quilts for the 11 veterans of the Exchange Club of the Quad Cities.

Register for more free articles
Stay logged in to skip the surveys

"And lots of work, lots of care, admiration and love went into them coming to life,'' added Dixon, surrounded by most of those who made such a special mission come to life.''

The task was, for the likes of Cindy Cornelius, Dixon, Lou Grasz, Fern Greer, Judy Greer, Donna Moews, Carol Murphy, Judy Piper, Mary Reitz, Kathy Stockwell, Doris Swinburn, Pat Tank, Jackie Tanner and Lucy Wilshusen, a labor of love. 

"It's always been a special day for me,'' Cornelius said of the Veterans Day celebration. "This project only added to it.''

The group agreed the Exchange Club of the Quad Cities' 50th anniversary, called for a special effort. 

"This was a great way to go beyond the usual,'' Mary Reitz said. "This brought us all together even more. It was worth it, and I don't even drink coffee.''

The Exchange Club of the Quad Cities has long been a steady and helping hand in the community. At Niabi Zoo's Boo at the Zoo recently, it continued its decades-long tradition of distributing more than 1,500 American flags.

Annually it presents awards to six local residents for flying the American flag, is responsible for the Freedom Shrine - a collection of 30 of the most historic American documents displayed at a variety of public locations about the Quad-Cities.

It provides support for a variety of veterans programs including Veterans Matter, Quad City Veterans Outreach and the USO Rock Island Center.

For its 37 members, the club is always at the ready to give back.

"Not a large group by any stretch, but a willing and engaged group,'' Dixon said, especially singing the praises of those who found a way to gather and complete the quilt project without anyone outside the group knowing.

A truth-stretch which was worth every stitch of time and effort.

Columnist John Marx can be reached at 309-757-8388 or jmarx@qconline.com


Load comments