There was no way Vicki Swenson could have known how special the image of an eagle was to the family of Jordan Kieffer.
But when she unveiled a special Quilt of Valor, being presented to the Kieffer family last Wednesday evening, July 5, there were tears.
Julie Kieffer, the mother of Jordan Kieffer — a Lance Corporal in the United States Marine Corps who died in April 2016 — said her son loved eagles. His father, Jim, said on the day of Jordan’s passing, he saw an eagle at their home and he’d never seen one in their neighborhood before. He felt it was a sign from their son.
So the quilt, with a beautiful eagle in the center, spoke to the family as Swenson, who lives south of Nevada and is a member of the Busy Bees Quilts of Valor group, unveiled the quilt to the Kieffer family, which included both parents and Jordan’s sister Emily, everyone agreed it was fate that she had chosen this quilt in memory of Jordan.
The presentation took place at the home of Doug and Brenda Couser, north of Nevada. The Couser and Kieffer families have had a long-standing friendship that goes back to when their daughters, Emily and Brooke, were young and became friends, and when Jim and Doug worked at Manatt’s and Con-Struct and saw each other often. It also included Jordan getting the Couser family involved in taekwondo, something Jordan loved from a very young age.
In making her presentation, Swensen gave some background about how Quilts of Valor started with one woman’s desire to bring comfort to veterans and their families. “Most of the participants (in Quilts of Valor) are just like me,” Swensen said. “We’re quilters.” As a national group, Quilts of Valor has presented over 161,000 quilts. “It’s mindblowing,” said Swensen, who said the quilts made and presented by her group are “very meaningful” to her as a quilter.
She told the Kieffer family that their presentation was “particularly memorable, in that we don’t have Jordan with us,” she said. Even though Jordan didn’t die in military action, Quilts of Valor still seeks to honor veterans who served. “It’s meaningful to me in the hope that this quilt will bring comfort and meaning to you all.”
Doug Couser said his family requested Swensen’s Quilts of Valor group make a quilt for the Kieffer family after Doug’s father received a Quilt of Valor at the Legion during a ceremony. The quilt meant so much to his father that Doug thought it would mean a lot to the Kieffers to have one.
“I thank you guys for thinking of us,” Jim said, with emotion evident in his voice.
Julie said she hopes the Quilt of Valor program can be promoted through this story for the incredible work it does. “This is just phenomenal … think of the numbers and how many lives it’s touched,” she said.
As the Kieffer family looked at the intricate work on the quilt, they commented about how much Jordan, a 2011 graduate of Nevada, would have loved it. “Jordan was extremely patriotic,” Jim said. “I truly couldn’t picture anything more beautiful,” Julie added.
Swensen, who is retired, but has made Quilts of Valor her full-time occupation, has spent time out in front of various groups, seeking donations, both monetary and of supplies, to help her group continue its work. There are several area Quilts of Valor organizations doing the great work of presenting quilts to veterans and their families. Swensen doesn’t plan on giving up this mission any time soon.