Military families rekindle memories of lost loved ones - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Military families rekindle memories of lost loved ones with freedom quilts

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Since she started in 2001, Betty Nielsen and her volunteers have distributed more than 7,300 quilts to military families who have lost loved ones. Since she started in 2001, Betty Nielsen and her volunteers have distributed more than 7,300 quilts to military families who have lost loved ones.

These military families are getting ready to re-kindle memories of loved ones, whose lives were cut short.

"It's just not right, we're not supposed to bury our babies," said Sheri Johnson of Fulda, Minn.

"He's not going to be forgotten, and that if he was up above, looking down right now, he'd think that what they're getting is great," said John Bonnell of Ft. Dodge, Iowa.

One year ago, Lori Beise lost her son, LCPL Jeffrey Beise. He was murdered at Camp Pendleton in California. The wounds are still fresh.

"It's just there every day that you wake up, and from talking to the other moms, it never goes away," said Beise of Zimmerman, Minn.

After Sept. 11, Betty Nielsen felt called to make quilts for military families who lost their loved ones too soon and has been making them with community volunteers ever since.

"And I know that my job isn't done because I'm not just doing the fallen soldiers any more. I'm doing the ones that are coming back and committing suicide, and that number is getting too big," said Nielsen.

Sheri Johnson's son, Trevor, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and committed suicide. Her quilt will come at the next ceremony, but she wanted to share Trevor's story now.

"One way, that I'm not alone, but no, it hurts, knowing that there are others hurting," said Johnson.

Designed by Nielsen and her dedicated volunteers, and stitched with personal details, Beise knows where she'll keep her quilt.

"Sleep in it every single night. The lady who gave it to me gave me a pillow case too, and I'm going to put that on my pillow and have good night's sleep now," said Hannah Beise.

As they continue to cope with the loss of loved ones, they'll all know Nielsen is still working to ensure the memories of their loved ones won't fade away.

Since she started making quilts in 2001, Nielsen and her team has distributed more than 7,300 quilts to families across the country.

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