CALDWELL — Karen Halverson grew up in a quilting family.
“I grew up a quilt was a long-distance hug from my grandmother,” said Halverson.
Her family tradition has become a way to thank Idaho veterans, called Quilts of Honor.
“I wanted to be kind of anonymous, but then when I do meet them, it has been sweet,” said Halverson.
Each quilt she designs goes to a different veteran, often purple heart recipients. Her latest quilt is going to 76-year-old Vietnam veteran Tony Solis.
“What we do is part of the honor we put it on you, that’s from all the love from all the people in your life,” said Danny Pugmire with the Idaho Veterans Garden.
Solis served from 1965 to ’67 in Vietnam. He recently reunited with his fellow soldiers, after they thought he died back in Vietnam. He was critically wounded, and they had no way of knowing if he made it back, but they reconnected over social media. Now the Idaho Veterans Garden is making sure he’s not forgotten.
“Their appreciation they have shown me, I think sometimes it’s a little too much, more than I deserve,” said Solis.
Karen’s stitched 25 quilts over the past two years for the veterans. Now a grandmother to a little one, the process takes a bit longer.
“I’ve had to slow down, but stop, no way,” said Halverson.
The moment when a veteran receives their quilt makes it worth the time and effort.
“That’s how we’ve always felt, it’s a hug, and that’s what I feel these are, they can wrap up in the warmth of someone who cares.”