Quilts for veterans

Photo cutesy of Melissa Scarborough Allred / Allred's chevron and star quilt has become an inspiration for supporting veterans through quilting.

Photo cutesy of Melissa Scarborough Allred / Allred’s chevron and star quilt has become an inspiration for supporting veterans through quilting.

Melissa Scarborough Allred’s quilt has turned in to a beacon of patriotism for many. Her American flag pattern has gained national attention prompting her to challenge other quilters to give a citizen’s salute veterans.

After Allred returned to Bogue Chitto from her service in Iraq, she took up quilting. It was not too long after she began, when she gave her daughter-in-law a lesson on making chevron quilts. Instead of the typical patterns, Allred decided to create one that resembled the American flag. It was only the seventh quilt she had ever made.

When she completed the project, she posted a photo on Facebook, and in a matter of a few hours she received comments, stories from veterans and veterans’ families. Her inbox was full.

“It was a complete accident,” said Allred. “They were telling me their stories. People just wanted to share and for someone to listen. You could see they needed a place to talk.”

Allred’s quilt became the centerpiece for people to talk about patriotic quilts, share quilts they have already made and share stories about veterans in their families for whom they have been quilting.

“I couldn’t keep up.,” said Allred. “I only slept three hours that night. It was overwhelming, and I couldn’t answer fast enough.”

Inspired by all of the feedback to her quilt, Allred has created the Veterans Flag Quilt Challenge. She is starting a quilt drive for war veterans. She is giving her now famous American flag quilt to a 93-year-old D-day veteran in Greenwood with the hopes that others will follow her lead.

“There’s a lot of love going on right now,” said Allred.

Allred has started a Facebook group “Veterans Flag Quilt,” where she will be freely giving out the American Flag pattern to anyone who joins. The group already has over a thousand members, and Allred said she is looking for that number to grow.

Allred is showing her quilt at the Mississippi State Fair Trade Mart and will be collecting donated quilts there Oct. 13 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. She said they will take any quilt. It doesn’t have to be new, and it does not have to be patriotic, just any quilt someone is willing to donate.

“There are a lot of veterans in Mississippi, and we have a long way to go,” said Allred.

For more information about the veterans quilt challenge contact Allred at 601-988-2217, join the Facebook group, or email quiltsforveterans@yahoo.com.