Saturday, September 10, 2016

Girl Scouts Present Quilt of Valor to Local Veteran

Girl Scouts proudly display their progress after a weekend of 
cutting and sewing at Camp Redwing. Pictured left to right: 
Zoey Jordan, Mackenzie Mudge, Morgan Sweeney, Kailee Roney, 
Andi Trageser, Haley Grenesko, Abby Cardyn, and Ginny Brooks. 
Cadette Girl Scouts in Troop 54442 presented a special patriot-inspired quilt they made to local veteran Felix Natoli on Saturday, Sept. 10 at the Morningside Mile, an annual race that honors veterans and soldiers.

Natoli is the race’s 2016 honoree.

The girls worked with the Quilt of Valor Foundation and earned the Quilting Badge for the project.

The Quilts of Valor Foundation’s mission is to present service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing quilts. To date, the organization has presented 143,940 quilts throughout the nation.

The girls began production of the quilt began during a weekend at Girl Scout Camp Redwing in Renfrew. They learned how to use rotary cutters and rulers to cut fabric, then started sewing together rectangles of red, cream and blue fabric to create a Rail Fence pattern. They continued sewing rows and learned to make sawtooth stars at several meetings over the summer. Rosemarie Fitzgerald, a local quilter, assisted the girls in perfecting their machine piecing skills.

The Quilting Badge culminates a progression of sewing skills the girls have learned since they were in fourth grade. They began by hemming a cloth napkin for the It's Your Planet—Love It! Journey, a part of the Girl Scout curriculum. As first year Cadettes in sixth grade, they worked at Cut and Sew Studio to sew pillow cases for patients at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. Troop leader Laurie Cybulski, an avid quilter, felt that this was an excellent opportunity to pass on a skill while taking action to help others.

Cybulski feels this experience showed the girls that success takes time and patience.

“I think girls need to work on long term projects that teach them persistence,” she said. “This quilt definitely taught them that.”

Connecting girls with inspiring role models is an important part of Girl Scouting. Nicole Maroon, owner of The Girl Who Quilts, offered to help the girls complete their badge work by giving them a tour of her business. Maroon talked with the girls about how she started and markets her small business and allowed the girls to work with the long arm quilting machine. She even volunteered to professionally machine quilt their Quilt of Valor.
The girls present the Quilt of Valor to Natoli before the race.

In addition to serving his county in the Army Reserves, Natoli has a long history of active citizenship, another important leadership quality that Girl Scouts celebrate and emulate. He serves on the board of the Morningside VFW, helps keep the neighborhood beautiful as a member of the Morningside Garden Club, is a Fraternal Order of Police member, a Democratic Committeeman for the 10th Ward, and has run in the Morningside Mile every year since it started in 2011.

The Morningside Mile, a race held on Jancey Street between Greenwood and Baker Streets, pays tribute to the men and women who serve, or have served, our country in the military. The event was founded in 2011, and honors a different solider or veteran every year.