Modern day Betsy Ross helps wounded soldiers heal

Monday, March 31st 2008, 9:56 pm
By: News 9

By Jennifer Pierce, NEWS 9

EDMOND, Okla. -- An Edmond women said it was a personal tragedy that keeps her giving back to the men and women fighting the war.

She creates one-of-a-kind pieces of art, as American as apple pie.

"We talk about Betsy Ross making the flag, but I bet she made a quilt in her life too," Joan Ballew said.

Soldiers receiving and taking quilts from home are a tradition that dates back to America's early wars.

"It makes them feel safe, just like a young child has a blanket," Ballew said.

Ballew and thousands of other quilters continue the tradition. Joan's hand crafted designs go to injured soldiers as her way of saying, ‘Thank You.'

"We've read stories and talked to soldiers who said, ‘I hugged this because it was something of comfort'," Ballew said.

Her patriotism goes beyond the red, white and blue fabric; her American pride comes from someone close to home.

"The mission he had was to Baghdad and beyond," Ballew said.

But Joan's son's mission was cut short when a bomb exploded.

"He's been wounded," Ballew said. "It's serious, but he's expected to recover. We just kept praying day by day that he would make a good recovery and not lose his leg."

Staff Sergeant Logan Ballew is now out of the hospital, and he went home with four quilts made by caring strangers.

Logan's work has also inspired this Marine mom to expand her quilting abilities.

A picture taken during her son's first tour in Iraq is the centerpiece of a quilt that is now touring the country, most recently seen at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds.

The buttons, zippers, and fabric were taken from one of Logan's uniforms. Now it is a work of priceless art that tells a Marine's story.

"I think the eyes tell the story because he was a very determined person," Ballew said.

Joan's quilt is off to another state, but hers and many others will be back in Oklahoma on July 1. The exhibit will be held at the Bank of America in Leadership Square.