A group of quilters from an Augusta church donated quilts to Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue on Tuesday to ensure a warm wrap for those in crisis.
The quilters from Our Redeemer Lutheran Church presented 51 handmade quilts to the department.
The quilts will be distributed to victims of fires, wrecks and other emergencies responded to by the fire department.
In the past, when people ran from burning homes in the middle of a cold night, or stood freezing on the side of the road after a wreck, firefighters kept them warm with whatever was available, said department dispatcher Charlie Brown. “These ladies didn’t know who might need a hug or when they might need one,” said Brown, who attends the church. “But they’ve provided all these hugs for whoever needs one.”
Quilter Nancy Verneau of Harlem came up with the idea after her son saw something similar happening in another community.
The ladies made 355 quilts last year and have donated them to a variety of organizations, including the Lutheran World Relief, Threshhold to Freedom, SafeHomes of Augusta, Interfaith Hospitality, Aiken’s Cumbee Center and Julie’s House.
“It (the quilt a victim receives) is made for them,” quilter Diane Strunk said. “We just like the fact we are going to keep them in Georgia, locally.”
Strunk said the quilts, which were blessed in the church before the donation, are made “with love” and the quilters hope they will bring comfort to someone in crisis.
“They are going to keep them (the quilt),” Strunk said. “And they are going to be warm.”
Brown said there are enough quilts for two on the fire vehicles at each station, on both battalion chief trucks and with the rescue squad. There are extras to replenish the trucks as the quilts are given away.
Each quilt has a tag that reads: “Made with prayer by Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, Augusta, Ga.”
“Whenever we give any out, I’m going to try to find out the story behind them,” Brown said, “and share that with the quilters.”