Hidden Stars: Arden pair makes quilts for veterans

RaeLynn Ricarte

Judy Lockner and Valerie Lamont, who both live near Arden, meet four times a month to make lap quilts that Tri County Economic Development District then awards to veterans.

The two friends, who live within seven miles of each other, have been quilting together for 10 years, but have dedicated the last three to making patriotic quilts for drawings held quarterly by Liz Stecker, veteran services coordinator for TEDD.

They have met some of the recipients but COVID-19 social distancing restrictions kept them from personally presenting a quilt to Army veteran Tyler Schaeffer in July.

“We just want them to know that someone cares,” said Lockner, who has resided in Stevens County for 15 years.

Lamont has lived in the county for 30 years. She said the outreach started when she and Lockner displayed quilts at TEDD's office, as one of the revolving art shows. Lockner's red, white and blue creation drew admiration from a young veteran, who studied it for awhile.

“He was so endearing that Judy and I almost burst into tears,” said Lamont.

They approached former veteran coordinator Silas Rappe, who was later replaced by Stecker, about making quilts on a regular basis to give to veterans.

“We committed to four a year,” said Lamont.

Rappe set up the drawings and invited community members to nominate a veteran for an entry. Former military personnel can call 509-684-4571 or email lstecker@teddonline.com to submit their name. The forms are also available on TEDD's website, www.tricountyedd.com or at the office, 986 S. Main in Colville.

“It's really fulfilling to be able to give a quilt to a veteran and say thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” said Lamont.

Editor’s note: This is the first of a multi-week series to highlight community members who serve others, but may not get the recognition they deserve. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured, email editor@statesmanexaminer.com

Read the full story in the August 19, 2020 Statesman-Examiner.