For the last 5 years or more, I have been making quilts for 911 dispatchers, those very first responders to a call. I was honored to make many for Hurricane Katrina survivors and their families, Hurricane Rita survivors, Flood victims in New York, Virginia Tech tragedy, cancer victims, fire victims, because all had one thing in common, I considered them family, because for many years, I was one of them, I was a first responder, the calm voice on the end of the telephone.
We all have one thing in common, we are the unsung heroes of the emergency responders. Officers forget to tell us what happened to a victim, how the call ended many times. Fire is off to the next call with no time to fill us in. We are alone many times to just pack away our emotions and move on. It takes a toll many times & the last year or so I was working, it took a hard hit on me.A police involved shooting (the officer was okay), 2 stand offs on my own street, a lifeless child, a suicide right after I hung up with the person. Many family fights, car accidents, etc.
It takes a toll and I never realized how much, until I wasn't there any more. Now I can come home after work and have time for myself. Now I am home with my family on week-ends, holidays and I am much happier. I know my hubby is.
While many times the officers get thanks, the dispatcher doesn't. That is why I began Quilting 911 and Quilts 911, it was an effort on my part to give back to those that are forgotten. I will continue my giving back to all I feel led to help.
But I must say that while during Hurricane Rita and Katrina I was donated fabric, thread, batting and WalMart cards to make the many quilts I made for dispatchers and families, it has been a struggle within myself to keep a smile on my face and keep going. Kevin at 911 Cares helped out many times during the Hurricane tragedies.
During Virginia Tech, I had friends send me donations of money, fabric & batting. The money is always used wisely and stretched as far as I can stretch it.
What bothers me are those people that work in 911 call centers that I have reached out to that said, let me know the next time you need assistance, I will donate. We are taking a collection for the next project, just let us know when. We want to help you, we are sending you money for postage. Then, nothing. No Emails in response to my request, no money in the mail, no fabric as promised.
One centers supervisor promised to pay for the postage of the last quilt I made and that person carried through and kept her word and her money not only paid to ship the quilt out a second time, it paid for some new thread and fabric for the next quilt someone needs.
It was a great concept I thought. I will make the quilt if someone will adopt it by paying for the fabric, batting, thread and mailing costs and I would enclose a card letting the recipient know who sent it. While I recieved many promises, I never recieved any follow through.
It is like loosing a best friend. I am having surgery in 10 more days and I am following a path God is leading me down. I will continue to make quilts in need, it is just who I am, but it saddens me that this could have had a better ending.
Oh well, off the pity pot and onto fixing dinner!