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Going a stitch above

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By Becca Owsley

Getting to know Terry Whitehead:
Favorite author: Karen Kingsbury
Hobbies: mostly sewing
Favorite music: country
Family: four kids — two boys and two girls, four grandchildren and husband, Jim

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 By BECCA OWSLEY
bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com

The 2nd Platoon of Crazy Horse Troop Tiger Squadron 3rd ACR stationed out of Ft. Hood Texas received a special treat for Christmas.

Terry Whitehead made them quilts — mailed special to Iraq.

Totaling 22 in all, she decided that her son-in-law Spc. Dennis Adam’s troop at patrol base Hamiyah needed something special from home for their service to the country.

Whitehead moved to Elizabethtown last year from St. Louis after her husband, Jim, was transferred through the realignment to work with the Human Resource Center at Fort Knox.

“We got BRAC-ed,” she said.

She found out many soldiers on the field didn’t get packages from home. Her son-in-law in Iraq saw a few in his troop. Many of the soldiers he is stationed with are 18 to 20 years old.

So, she started quilting.

The quilts are all a bit different, but, she said she had a problem finding a big variety of “manly” colors. They are patch quilts because that type was the easiest to do in bulk in a short amount of time, she said.

“They’re nothing special,” Whitehead said.

But they are to the person who receives them.

Whitehead's son-in-law said many took them out with them because they are better than a sleeping bag to keep them warm at night.

People think of Iraq as all dessert and heat, but at night it can get pretty cold, she said.

Originally Whitehead was just going to make her son-in-law a picture quilt, but she then decided to do a quilt for everyone to make sure they all received a little something from home.

She remembered when she and her family sent her son-in-law off on deployment she saw one young man with no one there to tell him goodbye. She couldn’t shake that memory, and it’s part of the catalyst for the quilts.

Whitehead started quilting seven or eight years ago when she cleaned for an elderly woman who taught her how to quilt. Now she makes all kinds of quilts, beyond the simple patch quilts she made for the troops.

The entire project cost $700 to complete. She still has a few more to mail.

She wouldn’t mind doing more on a regular basis, but she has to finish a few other quilts for family members that got pushed aside when she started working on the quilts for soldiers.

With family living in Illinois and Texas and being new to the area, Whitehead sews a lot, she said.

“I don’t have anything else to do.” 

When she goes to Wal-Mart to buy fabric  the people working the fabric counter ask her what she’s making next.

Her grandkids who visited during Christmas think what she's doing is “cool. “

It takes her about two days to tack a quilt. She had some back issues so sometimes it’s hard on her. She will usually tack two rows and set it down a while before tacking two more.

Her daughter Amanda said the quilts are probably something her husband’s fellow soldiers will take with them wherever they are stationed because they keep them warm and are a piece of home.

Whitehead encourages others to think about the soldiers. It doesn’t have to be a quilt, she said. They appreciate anything from home. She hopes others will take up the practice of sending letters or care packages to give those serving overseas as a connection to home. 

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741.