Cross stitchers honor fallen heroes

Monday, August 11, 2008
Helen Blanton displays her recent embroidery project, made for the wife of a fallen Tullahoma soldier. (T-G Photo by Sadie Fowler)

Cross stitchers from all over the country have joined together to show their support for United States service men and women by making and delivering handmade memorials to the families of fallen soldiers.

"I'm just an average, everyday person who wanted to combine my love for embroidery with a way to do good," said Helen Blanton, a Bedford County volunteer for the American Soldier Memorial and No Soldier Left Behind Memorial projects. "I want to do more of these for the soldiers of Tennessee."

Blanton became involved with the organization, which currently has 409 members, accidentally, while browsing the Internet to learn more about cross stitching.

"I'm just a hobby embroiderer," she said. "I bought my machine in 2002. I sew gifts for my family and friends."

When she stumbled upon the program's web site, she learned she could choose a pattern and a soldier from her home state and stitch a memorial for his family. Each state has a representative listed online who can assist hand cross stitchers and machine stitchers with any questions.

Once the stitch is complete, the stitchers have it framed and deliver it to the fallen soldier's next of kin.

Blanton just completed her first project. She made a cross stitch for the widow of a fallen soldier from Tullahoma. She wants to do more, but says she would like to find a local business to donate the framing and/or shipping costs.

It took Blanton about 10 hours, from start to finish (including setup, sewing, and framing), to complete the project.

She's already sent a request to the Tennessee representative about doing her second embroidery for a man in Lewisburg. If he's not already taken by another embroiderer, Blanton expects to receive the "OK" any day, at which point she'll get started.

Blanton would love to see more embroiderers get involved with this cause. However, her approach is modest.

"I like to do my good deeds in private," she said. "This is not about me, it's just a good cause."

TO LEARN MORE

For more information about these projects, visit:

groups.msn.com/AmericanSoldierMemorialProject

To donate framing or to help Blanton with shipping contact her at 294-5777.