Photo credit: Ken Sain

Story originally published on Chino Valley Review.

Justin Edwards was at a loss for words when the Sew Fine Quilters Friendship, one of six groups that form the Chino Valley Quilters in Arizona, presented him with a quilt that hit close to home.

A member of the U.S. Army, Justin returned from his deployment in Afghanistan three years ago with extra uniforms due to the military's transition into a new style at the end of his deployment. He had heard that some of his friends were turning their uniforms into quilts, so rather than letting the uniforms sit in a closet, he called upon the local quilting group to turn his pieces of clothing into memorabilia.

Deconstructing the uniforms was no easy task due to the carefully stitched seams on military uniforms, but the Sew Fine Quilters Friendship group were up for the challenge to make the quilt extra special for the serviceman. In addition to the uniforms, the group added Hawaiian fabric to symbolize Justin's childhood in the state he grew up in.

Once the materials were all measured out, the quilting group decided to make a quilt for Justin's 10-year-old son, Chase, using the leftovers. "One of our group was at the restaurant and she saw a boy, and he said, 'That's my dad,'' and he was so proud, and that just melted all of our hearts," said Susan Noyes, a member of the Sew Fine Quilters Friendship, to the Chino Valley Review. "So we made a quilt for him too."

Both Justin and Chase were overwhelmed with joy when they received their quilts. "It was pretty overwhelming when I got it," Justin said. "I couldn't even talk. I had no words." The group added one last surprise by putting labels on the back of both quilts that said, "We live in the home of the free because of the brave."