Special Quilts Help Kids Cope With Parent Deployments
Amber Partin's husband is about to deploy again to Afghanistan.
The kids are just old enough to start missing him a lot.
"This one's going to be the hardest because they know Daddy's going to be gone this time," said Amber.
But through Operation Kid Comfort, they'll be able to hold dad close, even while he's gone, on a colorful quilt.
It starts with a military family sending in family photos.
The pictures are ink-jet printed onto special paper.
"And we assign them to a quilter and we will ship them out to a quilter and then the quilter ships them back to us," said Sandy Hill, Operation Kid Comfort.
The quilts are then given to the family.
It's totally free and the reactions from children are priceless.
"When the kids see them, they take them out with them and they won't let them go," said Julia Hull, Operation Kid Comfort.
The Partin family's quilt should be delivered by Christmas - guaranteed to put a smile on their faces.
"They all love blankets so this is going to be a big surprise to them," said Amber.
For quilters like Marsha Hasseler, this takes the reward of quilting to a whole new level.
"Sometimes we get to read a letter from somebody who has received a quilt. I mean, how can you pass a soldier on the street and not say thank you," said Hasseler.
Operation Kid Comfort started at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, 12 years ago.
It was picked up locally in 2005 and is a partnership with Armed Services YMCA.
So far the local Kid Comfort Operation has delivered nearly 3,000 quilts.
Nothing replaces dad or mom, but this lets kids hang on tight until they return.