UACES Facebook Izard County 4-H members to present valor quilt project to local veterans
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Izard County 4-H members to present valor quilt project to local veterans

By Rebekah Hall
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Nov. 6, 2023

Fast Facts:

  • Izard County 4-H sewing club made lap quilts for local veterans with help of Izard County Extension Homemakers
  • 4-H members learned sewing skills, meaning of veterans’ service
  • Quilts will be presented to veterans in ceremony on Nov. 9

(912 words)
(Newsrooms: With quilt photo)

MELBOURNE, Ark. — As the nation prepares to honor military veterans for their service and sacrifices on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, a group of 4-H members in Izard County will say thank you to their local veterans with a presentation of red, white and blue handmade lap quilts.

THANKING VETERANS — The Izard County 4-H Sewing Club, with the help of the Redbud Extension Homemakers Council, created lap quilts, such as this one, to present to local veterans in recognition of their service. (Division of Agriculture photo.) 

Elizabeth Daigle, Izard County extension family and consumer sciences agent for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said the 4-H Sewing Club started three years ago as a collaboration with Redbud Extension Homemakers Council members.

“When I first discussed this idea with the EHC ladies, it was about joining the older generation with the youth to teach them a trade they could always use,” Daigle said. “I think it’s awesome that we’ve connected these two groups, and that they get to work together.”

Julie Praytor, a member of the Redbud Extension Homemakers Council, said the 4-H Sewing Club began with basic skills and worked their way up.  

“During the first year, we started with learning how to sew on a button, learning about fabrics and doing a little practice sewing,” Praytor said. “Then the next year, we wanted to get them excited about entry-level projects, like sewing a square apron.”

“When we first started the club, the children didn’t know how to hold a needle,” Daigle said. “I’m really impressed with how far they’ve come.”

Praytor said she brought the idea for the valor quilt project to Daigle both as an act of community service and as an activity for the children to practice their improved sewing skills.

“Over the past summer, I began thinking, ‘They’re moving up in their skill level, so how can we get them more involved as a community project?’” Praytor said. “I presented the idea that we could do a very basic quilt, straight line sewing, but then at the end of the year, they could give their quilt to the veteran of their choice in our community.”

Fourteen members of the 4-H Sewing Club each worked on a lap quilt measuring 45 inches by 64 inches using a take-home kit designed by EHC members.

“The best part was making up a pattern that would be easy for the beginning sewers to do,” Praytor said. “We gave them a kit, and in it we provided all their fabric and a corner section, which was their star block. They had to put together their star block, along with two strip blocks of red and white. By the end of the year, we were sewing it all together and putting borders on it, then sending it off to an EHC member to get quilted.”

Hands-on community service

Isabella Bray, 11, has been a member of the Izard County 4-H Sewing Club for three years. She said her favorite part of being in the club is “hanging out with my friends and helping the community,” and that she enjoys working with the EHC members on their projects.

“I love the EHC ladies, they’re really nice,” she said. “They help us if we’re having troubles. For the valor quilt project, they gave us a kit and we took it home with us, and we got two months to finish it. The EHC ladies helped us add a border to it and a backing.”

Praytor said the 4-H sewers are enthusiastic about their work and learning new skills.

“Our sewers are remarkable,” she said. “They are so focused when we are in class, they’re very attentive. They thought it was neat to be able to make something that big, a quilt was something new for them. They don’t have very much time in our class, but they all work extremely hard. We’re very proud of the group that is participating in the sewing club, because they are very interested in it.”

Praytor said senior 4-H members also assist EHC with the sewing lessons. She said that in addition to sewing skills, children learn about different aspects of fabric, measurements and math — concepts that they’ll use for years to come.

“They learn a lot of skills that I hope they’ll be able to take with them,” Praytor said. “If they don’t stick with sewing, they’ll stick with them in other areas of their lives.”

The primary goal of the project was to honor their local veterans, Praytor said.

“We wanted to give back to our community, allow the children to participate in it, and help them understand what community service is,” she said. “From the very beginning, they understood they were going to donate to a veteran, and they learned about, ‘What is a veteran? What is a quilt of valor, and how is it made? And what does the quilt of valor represent?’ For us, it was a thank you to the veteran for their service and sacrifice in serving our nation.”

Bray said she will present her lap quilt to Jack Yancey, a veteran and former sheriff of Izard County.

“I think this was a really good project to work on because the people that died for our country and served for us are very important,” Bray said. “Our quilts are American flags, so I feel like it’ll remind them about all the good things they’ve done for our country.”

On Nov. 9, the Izard County 4-H Sewing Club members will present their quilts to local veterans in a private ceremony at 5:30 p.m. at Ozarka College in Melbourne. 

For more information about the Izard County 4-H sewing club, contact Elizabeth Daigle at

To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit Follow us on X and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow on X at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit Follow us on X at @AgInArk. 

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system. 

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.  

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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Media Contact:
Rebekah Hall