Quilts of Valor

Cary Group Sew Quilts for Veterans

Quilts of Valor

Cary, NC — Each month at Elegant Stitches in Cary, a small group of women meet to sew quilts for wounded soldiers. The group is part of a large non-profit called Quilts of Valor, and I talked to Lisa Garner Wardenaar, who started the Cary chapter, to find out more.

Humble Beginnings

Lisa started the Cary Quilts of Valor group in 2013. She had been looking for a service project that would enable her to give back to the community. “I have always been appreciative of our service members and veterans,” she told me. “I saw an ad on Facebook for Quilts of Valor and clicked on it…from that moment I knew I had found what I was looking for.”

Lisa went on to tell me why this project is special to her:

My father, grandfather and uncles all served. Knowing that so many are willing to lay their life on the line for our freedom is such a selfless act. It’s heartwarming and such an honor for me to be able to personally thank these veterans and to let them know they are appreciated and that they are not forgotten.

Since the group’s inception, Cary’s Quilts of Valor has presented over 40 quilts to deserving veterans, many of whom are Wake County residents.

How Does It Work?

I asked Lisa few questions about the Cary group and about how people can join.

She told me that the group has anywhere from 5-15 regulars at their meetings and 25 members total. Some members work on quilts at home as well. Lisa purchases most of the fabric used for the quilts, though they’ve received some donations that allow them to purchase more fabric.

Quilts of Valor

Sue, a Quilts of Valor member, chatted with me as she worked on a quilt at a Cary meeting.

The Cary group meets twice a month to work on the quilts for several hours. Lisa told me that, “At some meetings we are able to piece a complete quilt top; other times we only are able to complete blocks for a quilt and then one of our members will take it home and assemble it.”

Quilters Award Blankets to Veterans

Last month, I visited a Quilts of Valor meeting, and there, I found it very special to learn that each handmade quilt is presented to a veteran, in-person, by a Quilts of Valor member.

Lisa has presented most of the quilts that the Cary group awarded to veterans. She said:

So many veterans I have met are humbled and speechless, and they’ve never been thanked for their service until they are presented with a Quilt of Valor. I have presented to WWII Vets, Vietnam Veterans, Dessert Storm and Iraq/Afghanistan Vets, several of whom were Wounded Warriors. Each presentation is emotional in it’s own way–you never know how the recipient is going to react.

Quilts of Valor

Lisa presents a quilt to a veteran.

Join Quilts of Valor

Quilts of Valor meetings are held twice a month in Cary:

  • 3rd Thursdays, 9:30 am-1 pm at Elegant Stitches, Waverly Place
  • 4th Tuesdays, 6-10 pm at Woodhaven Baptist Church, 400 Kildaire Farm Road

If you’re interested in becoming involved or donating fabric and supplies, email Lisa at operationsewthankful@gmail.com, or stay in touch on Facebook.


Story by Jessica Patrick. Photos from Lisa Garner Wardenaar.


Arts coverage on CaryCitizen is sponsored in part by Elegant Stitches.