|Columbus, OH (October, 2016) – When Gertrude Trowbridge was eight years old she began learning the art of quilting. Since then, the Powell resident has been widely recognized for her quilting skills, winning county and state championships. But that’s not what brings her the most joy. Gertrude’s true passion is crafting handmade quilts and delivering them to the Ohio Veterans Home in Sandusky, where they are given to veterans and used as decorative bed coverings.
Gertrude’s late husband Robert Trowbridge was an Army veteran, 37th Division where he served in the South Pacific during World War II. Six of her family members also served in the military. During the final years of his life, Mr. Trowbridge suffered from dementia and received outstanding care at the Veterans Home. Gertrude wanted to volunteer to help the home in some way to show her appreciation, but living over 100 miles away made it difficult. Then she learned the home needed bed coverings, so she put her quilting talents to work by making decorative, patriotic quilts for the home’s residents.
Although her husband passed away in 2011, Gertrude has continued making quilts. To date, she has made nearly 300 quilts for the home, and she doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Her goal is to make at least 427 quilts, matching the total number of beds in the home.
Each quilt is handmade on Gertrude’s traditional style quilting frame, taking several days to complete, working many hours each day. Gertrude uses patriotic fabrics and yarns to brighten up the veterans’ rooms.
“This is my passion,” said Gertrude. “It’s about all I do. It’s a worthwhile way for me to help the veterans and show my appreciation for what they’ve done. Even though some of the residents cannot talk, they speak to you with their eyes when you see their appreciation upon receiving a handmade quilt with their name on it.”
VFW of Ohio Charities learned about Gertrude’s service when she was profiled in a Columbus Dispatch article in June 2015. The charity’s director Bill Seagraves reached out to Gertrude to help with the expenses of producing the quilts, which she had been paying for at her own expense. This year VFW of Ohio Charities has provided $1,000 to Gertrude to help with her expenses and has committed to pay for the cost of materials and travel for as long as she’s willing to make the quilts.
“With all of the hard work and countless hours Gertrude dedicates to helping brighten the lives of Ohio’s veterans in need, providing funds to pay for her materials and expenses is the least we can do,” said Seagraves.
Funding to help Gertrude and hundreds of other veterans charitable causes in Ohio is made possible by revenue generated from the Ohio Veterans and Fraternal Charitable Coalition (OVFCC) charitable electronic raffle program. In 2016 alone, the project has raised over $5 million to support posts, lodges and the charities they support. Since its inception in 2011 the charitable electronic raffle program has raised over $23 million to support posts, lodges and charitable causes.
In 2013 Attorney General Mike DeWine felt that the charitable electronic raffle program was illegal and ordered it shut down. But veterans and fraternal organizations disagreed and quickly obtained a temporary restraining order allowing the program to proceed, pending a court trial which is set for later this month. The OVFCC and their charities are hopeful they will win their court case and continue to be able to raise vital funds from their members to support their posts and charities at no cost to taxpayers.