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Ford City students donate homemade quilt to veterans center

| Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Sean Taladay, Mechling Shakley Veterans Center director, accepts the gift of a patriotic quilt on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, made by students of Jan Silvis' (center) ninth-grade Family Consumer Sciences class at Ford City Junior-Senior High School. Also accepting the quilt is (right), Joe Robinson, Center's board of directors secretary. Tom Mitchell for the Leader Times

COWANSVILLE — What better way to “cover” Valentine's Day for veterans than with a patriotic quilt.

While a single quilt may not seem like much for 65 residents of the Mechling Shakley Veterans Center, enough love was put into the making of the quilt to cover all of the residents.

The quilt, featuring an American flag design on one side, was made by ninth-grade students from Jan Silvis' Family Consumer Science class at Ford City Junior-Senior High School.

“Nine of my students, all boys, started on the quilt just after the Thanksgiving break and finished about mid-January,” Silvis said. “Of course, we were asked where we were going to donate the quilt. Our students chose the center, simply to show that we appreciate our military and veterans.”

Silvis said this was not the first quilt to honor veterans.

“We have a student whose uncle, who lives in Pittsburgh, left for his fifth tour of duty in Afghanistan,” she said. “We thought a handmade quilt was a fitting tribute for any soldier who volunteered for five tours in a combat zone. A letter was received from that soldier saying that whenever he felt homesick, he'd wrap himself in the quilt and feel better.”

“We have come a long way,” Silvis said. “Several decades ago it was unheard of for boys to enroll in what was called ‘home economics.' But today, having boys learn how to cook and sew is virtually a necessity, and the class is quite popular.”

Mechling Shakley executive director, Sean Taladay, said that it will be tough deciding which of the residents will receive the quilt, so meanwhile it will be displayed as a wall hanging at the center.

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