A modern day Betsy Ross is helping wounded soldiers heal, one stitch at a time. News On 6's Jennifer Pierce reports Joan Ballew says a personal tragedy keeps her giving back to the men and women fighting the war.
"You have to decide on a design, pick out the fabrics," said Joan Ballew.
She makes one of a kind pieces of art.
"Each quilter has their own unique way of doing things," said Ballew. "We talk about Betsy Ross making the flag, but I bet she made a quilt in her life too."
Soldiers receiving and taking quilts from home is a tradition that dates back to America's early wars.
"It makes them feel safe, just like a child has a blanket," said Ballew.
Joan Ballew and thousands of other quilters continue the tradition. Joan's hand crafted designs go to injured soldiers. It's her way of saying thank you.
"We've read stories and talked to soldiers who said I hugged this because it was something of comfort," said Ballew.
Ballew's patriotism goes beyond the red, white and blue fabric. Her American pride comes from her son.
"The mission he had was to Baghdad and beyond," said Ballew.
But, Ballew's son's mission was cut short when a bomb exploded.
"He's been wounded. It's serious. But, he's expected to recover," said Ballew. "We just keep praying day by day that he would make a good recovery and not lose his leg."
Staff Sergeant Logan Ballew is now out of the hospital. He went home with four quilts made by caring strangers. Logan's work has also inspired this Marine mom to expand her quilting abilities.
In a picture Logan has his head gear on and scarf across his face because of the sand blowing around. The picture taken during her son's first tour in Iraq is the centerpiece of a quilt that is now touring the country. It was most recently seen at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds. It was made from the buttons, zippers, and fabric taken from one of Logan's uniforms. It's now a work of priceless art that tells a Marine's story.
"I think the eyes tell the story because he was a very determined person," said Ballew.
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