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Hoosier woman supports veterans by giving comfort through quilts

Posted at 6:04 PM, Apr 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-26 19:01:15-04

INDIANAPOLIS — One woman is making it her life's mission to show veterans across the country that she cares.

Veterans suffer from many challenges when they get out of service. A disabled veteran herself, Judy Brown, hopes to show them support the best way she can - by making quilts.

With each stitch, Brown finds strength and meaning.

"It gives me a purpose to get up every day and keep going," Brown said. "That quilt machine is my lifesaver."

The quilting machine is her life's work now that she is disabled after fighting in the war.

Brown first joined the army when she was 24-years-old and served eight years. Then 13 years later, when her daughter decided she would join the military too, Judy went back - at the age of 45.

"Going in at that age, I knew there was a chance to go to Iraq, and it was OK with me," Brown said. "It was OK because it was a sense of duty."

She injured her back overseas and now struggles with mobility and, like so many others, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

"Each quilt that you see here has a story," Brown told RTV6.

She found comfort in quilting to weave through the hard times. Now, Brown wants to spread that comfort to every struggling veteran out there.

Brown and her "Old Glory Quilters" group in Shelbyville make quilts for people who have served.

She has made nearly 1,500 quilts and presented them to veterans across the country. Their quilts represent struggles from every corner.

One of Brown's combat patches have the letters M-S-T. The letters stand for Military sexual trauma.

"I present the quilt because they need the quilt and they need to be welcomed home," Brown said.

A need so grave, because of that horrifying statistic.

"The suicide rate is 22 too many," Brown said. "That's the number that they're capturing each day of suicides."

She knows this small gesture means everything to the recipients.

"I've seen them at the funeral homes. I've seen them laying in the casket," Brown said. "They love them that much."

Brown says her only wish for those who want to repay her when it's her time to go is to hold her their quilts as she goes by.

"I just hope all the people that I've touched their life - from sea to shining sea - will come and lineup, and bring their quilts and hold them as I pass by," Brown said.

Brown wants people to know that war is hard, but there is help available.

If you or anyone you know is having thoughts of suicide, there's a Veterans Crisis Line you can call at 1-800-273-8255. You can also send a text message to 838-255 to connect with an AVA Responder. The Military Crisis Line is also available online.

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