By Emily Crowe
CNJ STAFF WRITER
Fourteen Melrose women have spent the past week laboring over a quilt that will be given to a girl whose father passed away while fighting for his country.
Army Staff Sergeant Michael Ruoff, originally from Canon City, Colo., was working in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom when he was hit by enemy fire in 2007.
Ruoff’s mother-in-law recently pieced together his old uniforms, and a distant relative of theirs from Melrose brought it to the quilters to be finished up and given to her granddaughter when she is older.
“Thinking about his mother-in-law cutting up the fatigues, there must have been a lot of tears shed on this quilt,” said Carol Moore, quilting supervisor at the Melrose Senior Center.
Moore said the quilters generally charge for their services and donate the money to help keep the doors open at the senior center, but they made a joint decision to do this special project for free.
The group meets at the senior center twice per month, though Moore said someone can be found quilting there almost every day.
Glenda Jones said each of the club’s 14 members has had an opportunity to work on the quilt, which was completed Tuesday afternoon.
While the group has not yet worked on a similar project in the past, Jones said she has made several wall hangings from flags her husband has flown since Sept. 11, 2001.
Tuesday’s group of quilters included several women who have endured the perils of war, including a woman whose husband is a World War II veteran, and another whose husband served in the Vietnam War.
Moore’s husband is retired Air Force and her son is currently serving in the Army at Fort Bliss, which happens to be where Ruoff met his wife back in the 1990s.
“It’s an honor,” Moore said of working on the quilt.