Jetta Harvey, 16, of Beatrice, Neb., a member of Gage County 4-H and a sophomore at Harvey Academy for Higher Learning, led more than 30 kids in her 4-H club and local middle school in making five warm, thick quilts to honor military veterans in her community. “I love to quilt,” said Jetta. “I also love my country and am very grateful for the veterans who sacrifice to keep me safe.” So, when Jetta heard about another teenager who used her sewing skills to make a quilt for a service member, she wanted to do the same.
With help from her mother, Jetta constructed a quilt for the father of a fellow 4-Her who had served in a submarine for five years off the coast of North Korea. Once she had mastered the pattern, she thought: “Why not teach others to quilt, while encouraging them to volunteer and show patriotism?” Jetta then began showing members of her 4-H club how to use a sewing machine to make a quilt and spent weeks with them as they produced three patriotic quilts for veterans. Jetta was then asked to teach quilting to 10 middle-school girls in an after-school program, which resulted in a fifth quilt. Once they were all completed, Jetta organized a reception to present each quilt to a deserving veteran. At one of these events, a highly decorated recipient tearfully explained that out of all the awards and medallions he’d received as a Marine, his quilt was the highest honor.