NORWALK, Conn. -- Their military service has ended, but veterans are still receiving hometown support from Christie Ruiz and her Norwalk business, Christie’s Quilting Boutique.
Ruiz and the women who shop at her store have teamed up with the Quilts of Valor Foundation. They will present quilts to veterans on Saturday at the store at 176 Main St. A 93-year-old World War II veteran from Greenwich, along with former soldiers from Norwalk and Monroe, will be presented quilts.
“I think it’s going to be very emotional,’’ Ruiz said. “I’d expect there will be a lot of tears.”
Ruiz opened her business late in 2013. A former employee of New Canaan Public Schools in the technology department, she took the plunge into retail. “I love to quilt and I love fabric,’’ she said. “My fabric collection was a little too big.”
She was aware of Quilts of Valor before she opened her doors. The non-profit foundation was founded in 2003 and set out with a goal of “making quilts that would heal and comfort our war wounded,” according to its website.
“We decided to get involved because many of our customers have friends that were in the military,’’ Ruiz said. “We wanted to be a part of it.”
Quilts are stitched together with 20 12-inch blocks. Volunteers design and sew each block and the pieces are then stitched together at Ruiz’s business. She expects to have more than 200 blocks, enough to piece together 10 quilts. Sewing the blocks can require as little as 10 minutes or up to an hour or more, depending on their complexity.
“We’ve had tremendous support from people who visit the store,’’ Ruiz said. “We’ve had days where people come in and they sew all day. We’ve had women come in and say ‘What can I do to help?’’’
Ruiz plans to make quilts throughout the year for veterans. All Quilts for Valor quilts are hand-delivered to veterans to thank them for their service.
“We do a lot of community based things here,’’ Ruiz said. “Last year we had 300 pillowcases that we sent to shelters, hospices and home health care facilities. It’s a great bunch of women who just want to support the community.”