HAMILTON, Va. (WDVM) — Since 2012, Joshua’s Hands has been sewing quilts for injured U.S. troops at overseas military hospitals. Over the weekend, the organization sewed its 2,000th quilt at its biannual Valiant Warrior Quilting Event. Each event is 10 days, with a goal to finish 100 quilts.
Joyce Guthrie founded Joshua’s Hands in 1999 in honor of her son, Joshua, who died in a car accident at age 16. He was a gymnast, and Guthrie says she imagines him “jumping and leaping” at the milestone Joshua’s Hands has met. More than a thousand people showed up to his memorial service.
“We had an open mic that went for four hours of people telling the things he did, the ways he was involved; some I knew, some I didn’t,” Guthrie said. “So when we decided to start Joshua’s Hands in 1999 that was the basis of what we decided to do: community service and education as a legacy to his community service.”
Guthrie has lost count of how many volunteers she has.
In 2011, Joshua’s Hands started stitching quilts together for wounded U.S. troops. Most of them are bound for an American base in Germany. Each quilt has 50 squares for each state, plus two more to include Washington, D.C. and the United States as a whole. Their signature quilt has old jeans cut into squares with messages of encouragement from people across the country.
Sometimes soldiers will send Joshua’s Hands a photo of themselves with their new quilts. A veteran, who was gifted a quilt while he was serving, brought his family to the organization’s latest quilting event to give back.
“Sometimes we don’t get feedback, understandably. They’re in the healing process and they don’t have time to think about us,” Guthrie said. We’re not a big part of the process; we’re just playing our little part of trying to warm their bodies and souls, you know? But it was really rewarding to get that feedback.”