He also rarely goes out without his disabled Vietnam veteran cap.
During this year’s AQS Quilt Show, Crim was presented a Quilt of Valor.
It marked the first time he was on the receiving end of “thank you” for his service to his country.
Crim was drafted into the Army on Dec. 10, 1963. He served for two years, two months in the 1st & 5th Calvary when an injury in Vietnam sent him back home in February 1965 for surgery and rehabilitation in Great Lakes, Ill. That December, he married. He and his wife Sarah, who will mark their 48th anniversary the end of this year, live in Golconda.
Five years ago, they took up quilting as a hobby. Sarah took the leap first, but her husband soon joined her.
“I had open heart surgery. He bought me a sewing machine that really intimidated me. It was in a box for two years before I had the ability to operate it. A lady here in town asked me to join the Massac Quilters Guild. The rest is history,” she said. “I got the machine to work right. Then he bought me — no, he bought himself — a sewing machine and we began to make projects together.”
Embroidery machines were soon purchased in the same fashion. “We do our own thing. Sometimes I hate to leave home because I’d rather be there sewing,” Sarah said.
For Crim, sewing became a winter time hobby as “after the mowing season there’s nothing to do, so I got sewing and liked it. I’d done hand sewing since I was a kid. The machine would make it so much easier. I fell in love with the sewing,” he said, noting the couple will stay up to almost 4 a.m. some mornings working on their projects.
“It keeps my mind a-going. It takes my mind off my aches and pains. It’s a good relaxer,” said Crim, who has had two quilts in the Super City-Quilt City Quilt Show.
Along with their own projects, they also work on projects as a couple. This year, their goal is to complete full-sized quilts for each of their children and a special nephew. They piece the blocks together and then have someone else turn the top into a quilt.
“Hand quilting is very, very unique and pretty,” Sarah said. “We just don’t have the time to do it. The very first one we did was hand quilted. It’s larger than a king bed so it was a lot of quilting. I’m accomplishing something, I’m learning to do something and we kept on and on and on. By the time we got it put together . . . we didn’t realize how much we had done. But we didn’t take it apart either. That was a labor of love.”
Another labor of love is the Quilt of Valor.
According to www.qovf.org, Blue Star mom Catherine Roberts began the Quilts of Valor Foundation (QOVF) from her sewing room in Seaford, Del. , during her son Nathanael’s year-long deployment to Iraq. Since 2003, the foundation has become a national grassroots community service effort, connecting the homefront with wounded combat warriors and veterans, providing a tangible gift of love and gratitude for their service.
It was April 23 when the Crims began the first of their three-day visit to the AQS Quilt Show, their fifth annual pilgrimage. Crim was wearing his disabled Vietnam veteran cap and upon their arrival to the pavilion, they were spotted by QOVF coordinator Jan Copeland, who questioned Crim’s military background and asked if he’d received a Quilt of Valor.
They had also been spotted by Duane Granger, owner of Freedom Star Quilt Shop in Michigan, which specializes in patriotic and military quilt patterns, kits, fabrics and notions, who was doing a radio interview. Sarah said as they exited the pavilion, “Granger said, ‘There he is, right there!’ They grabbed him (Crim) and said, ‘We’d like to present you with the Quilt of Valor.’”
The 55-by-65 lap-sized quilt is fronted by a log cabin variation with a star in the upper left corner of the block. The back fabric is filled with small American flags. In a back corner is a label that reads: “For an American Hero. Your sacrifice will never be forgotten. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Pieced by Cindy Osborn. Quilted by Debbie Angerman. Centerville United Methodist Church, Centerville, Va.”
“It was just breathtaking because something like this be given and you have no idea what’s going on,” Crim said. “This is my first ever ‘thank you for your service.’”
For years, Sarah said, Crim and his “fellow comrades have passed out cards and thank each other for the service they gave and for being back home. . . . We find when we go to other states, even here in Illinois, if he has the cap, so many people will recognize that he’s a veteran. It’s something that I don’t think we do enough, but it’s a start, whereas there was nothing.”
Sarah said that Granger explained to them that providing materials for and presenting Quilts of Valor has become his mission in life. “It’s very touching,” she said of the presentaiton.
“People began to gather around us whenever they were interviewing him (Crim on the radio). Two days later (as we were attending the show) people were still stopping us on the street, talking, crying, congratulating him. It was a real tear-jerking moment.
“I’m just so happy for Bob that he was given this quilt. He’s been out of the service for a long time. It was just the recognition that he was given,” Sarah continued. “It will be hung in our home.”
For more information on the Quilt of Valor project or how a vet can receive one, contact Copeland at www.patchworkplus.net or Granger at email@example.com.