INDIANAPOLIS—8/28/12—Quilt-maker, military mother-in-law, and American Legion Auxiliary member Linda Wieck has been named the 2012 American Legion Auxiliary “Woman of the Year” for her positive impact on the quality of life for active-duty military servicemembers, veterans and their families.
Prior to being deployed to Iraq in April 2006, Linda Wieck’s son-in-law, Todd, asked her to make him a quilt. Wieck pulled out her sewing machine and designed the quilt using Todd’s specifications that it be small, made from camouflage cloth, and have cotton batting.
When Todd was at Camp Shelby, Miss., for training prior to deployment, other servicemembers in his unit saw the quilt and wanted to buy one. Wieck, a member of American Legion Auxiliary Ladewig-Zinkgraf Unit 243 in Plymouth, Wis., was asked to make each of them a quilt, which they offered to pay for. She scrambled to finish all 48 before they left for Iraq in July 2006.
Today, 17,600 quilts have been made and distributed to troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan thanks to the Camo Quilt Project. Each quilt takes about three hours to make, and volunteers sew 500 quilts per month.
That hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. The Camo Quilt Project was one of 13 honorees awarded a $10,000 donation from Newman’s Own as part of USA WEEKEND Magazine’s Make A Difference Day contest in 2010. The magazine flew Wieck to Nashville for a photo session for a cover story spotlighting the national honorees.
“In selecting the Woman of the Year recipient, each year we search for someone who is making an impact on families and communities, particularly military and veteran families. We seek a woman of integrity and character – someone to look up to as a leader and motivator,” said Auxiliary National President Kris Nelson. “One person who made a difference in one person’s life, has now made a difference in 17,600 lives.”
Wieck received the Auxiliary’s prestigious award Aug. 28 during its 92nd national convention in Indianapolis. The Woman of the Year award presentation was held at a luncheon sponsored by Quadriga Art in the Sagamore Ballroom of the Indianapolis Convention Center. Previous recipients of the award include L. Tammy Duckworth, assistant secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, former first lady Laura Bush, country music artist Barbara Mandrell and humorist/author Erma Bombeck.
Founded in 1919, the American Legion Auxiliary is the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization. With a membership of nearly 800,000, local American Legion Auxiliary units have a strong presence in more than 9,000 communities nationwide. The American Legion Auxiliary’s mission to serve veterans, the military and their families is carried out through its hundreds of outreach programs delivered by its members, volunteers and National Headquarters.###
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"Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in."—Marjorie Moore, Belleville, Ill.