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Sybene quilting group giving back to veterans

SOUTH POINT — Quilts are meant to be cozy and offer solace in both good times and bad.

They also provide an outlet for a group of seniors looking to stay active while never forgetting those who have served our country.

For the 20 or so quilters who make the Sybene Senior Center’s craft room their outlet every weekday afternoon, quilting accomplishes two major goals — staying active both mentally and physically and providing a little solace to patients at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Huntington, W.Va.

Earlier this month, the center’s quilting group donated 60 lap throws to hospital patients with Joan Combs, Lorene Plybon, Bonnie Fitzpatrick and Frances Wriston personally visiting each patient to make their donation.

It was the first year the women from the center donated their creations to the veteran’s hospital.

Watching the time and effort each volunteer places into each hand-stitched quilt and lap throw from the center’s second floor corner craft room is a reminder to the power of keeping active and being inspired.

Most of the women are widows and meet five days a week while heading to the craft room after eating lunch.

Many learned the craft from their mothers and grandmothers and built each quilt with donated materials. Many of their “works of art” can take up to six months to finish.

“If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it,” said Bonnie Fitzpatrick, when explaining the benefits of stimulating the mind.

Fitzpatrick sews on one of the three sewing machines located in the craft room that oversees the banks of the Ohio River.

Most of the quilts and lap throws have themes like golf and Native Americans The women also sell handcrafted pillows, jewelry, angels and vests to support their project which anyone can purchase.

They also make bibs for River Bend nursing home in South Point.

“I think it’s very special in keeping them active and coming to the center,” said Darlene Green, site manager of the Sybene center. “I think the project with the veterans was fantastic.”

Medical Center Director Edward Seiler was unable to be contacted for this story, but in a letter to the senior center wrote that “the patients were pleased that several members of the center took time to personally visit with them.

Not only did they enjoy receiving the beautiful quits, they also appreciated your heartfelt thoughtfulness.”