By Morgan Taylor, Reporter
SAPULPA, Oklahoma – The members of the Sapulpa Indian Community Center brainstormed ways to honor their veteran members despite the COVID-19 pandemic putting a halt to normally scheduled celebrations.
The center has been shut down since the beginning of the pandemic and many gatherings and activities have been cancelled.
According to Sapulpa Indian Community Center Board member Vicki Tate a decision was made to construct a quilt of Honor. Tate affirms there is a national program that honors veterans and presents quilts, where the idea came from.
“This was our way of honoring at least one Veteran for his or her service from our center because it was not guaranteed they would receive one,” Tate said.
The quilt was designed by six Muscogee (Creek) women and members of the center. Edna DeGraffenreid, Ellen Harjo, Anna Jo Fife, Doretha Billy, Darla Copeland, and Vicki Tate.
“Each quilter designed individual patriotic blocks that we then put together for final quilt,” Tate said. “It was quilt of love and gathering of everybody’s minds.”
The quilt was given to Paul M. Harjo Marine Corps Veteran. The ladies had gathered discretely on this project and surprised members and Harjo with the gift.
“We had about twenty veterans to choose from,” Tate said. “We had them all submit a bio of themselves and it was really hard to choose. We ended up putting all of the names in a hat and one of the women who helped make the quilt got to draw the name and we selected Paul M. Harjo.”
Harjo’s reaction brought tears of joy to the quilters.
“The quilt is very nice,” Harjo said. “I appreciate it so much.”
Members had hoped to be open to honor veterans with a celebration though that is not the case.
“We can’t go into our community center, but we can give a gift to a Veteran,” Tate said. “Even if just one person gets a quilt then we are happy to honor them.”