Students see community impact from Quilts of Valor project


  • Wichita State First-Year Seminar, Cross Cultural Communication, saw their community impact through a Quilts of Valor project.
  • Quilts of Valor Foundation began in 2003 and has since provided more than 151,000 quilts to military veterans.
  • The class awarded their quilt to Sarah Sell, WSU director of Veteran Student Services.

It’s not every class that can see an impact in the local community from what they have learned, but the Wichita State University First-Year Seminar, Cross Cultural Communication, was able to do so through a Quilt of Valor (QOV) project.

The Quilts of Valor Foundation was started in 2003 by Catherine Roberts, whose son was deployed in Iraq. She believed that quilts could offer healing and wanted to create a volunteer team to donate time and materials for the quilt.

Quilts made for the organization have to meet specific requirements and are described by Roberts as the civilian equivalent of a Purple Heart award. Quilts of Valor are awarded, not simply passed out – they say “thank you for your service, sacrifice and valor in serving our nation in combat.”

When the class started the project, they heard from Sarah Sell, director of Veteran Student Services, who explained military culture and the transitions veterans make after leaving the military.

After Sell’s presentation, Martha Smith, a representative from the Wichita Area Quilts of Valor, explained the process of making a QOV. Smith asked students to sign personal messages to Sell on signature blocks, which she sewed into the class quilt.

“Beginning with the Revolutionary War, the dead and wounded were covered with quilts,” said Smith, explaining some of the history behind QOV.

The finished project was awarded to Sell in November.