BONAIRE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Third graders at Hilltop Elementary honored active and veteran servicemen on Thursday by giving each of them a handmade quilt featuring patriotic squares they created.
It is a hug from a small patriot and a quilt.
"Just about the time you think the kids here lost their respect for the military and they really don't care for the country, something like this comes along and really puts a warm feeling in your heart," retired Colonel Craig Lightfoot with the U.S. Air Force said.
Lightfoot is one of 25 local servicemen to receive a warrior quilt from the third graders.
"I'm proud of them. I'm glad they did this. I really love them all," Colin Roberts, who served in the U.S. Air Force, said.
Each student drew a picture on a square. They sent off their patriotic blocks to Quilts of Valor, which is a national organization that gives handmade quilts to active and veteran service members who have seen combat.
"We've had some wars where we really ignored our servicemen when they came home and that was our shame. And we're not going to let that happen again," Susan Gordon with Quilts of Valor said.
Quilters from across the Peach State spent hours creating each one-of-a-kind blanket by hand. One by one, the servicemen received their quilt as well as a hug from the quilters and students.
"We're just so excited and thankful to be able to participate in this and to find a way to honor the people who have served us," Jennifer Yawn, the Hilltop Elementary third grade teacher who organized the project, said.
The quilts represent honor, thanks, and comfort. It is a symbol of appreciation to let those who served our country know these tiny patriots are thankful.
"I felt good about it," third grader Jaden Wilson said.
"I felt excited," third grader Garion Miller said.
"We wanted to comfort them on bade days and be a hug when they need that," Gordon said. "And be a reminder that there are hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children across this country who are indebted and who know that we appreciate all that they do for us."
The leftover quilts will be sent to servicemen in Germany and Afghanistan. Gordon hopes this will become a local project for quilters to participate in next year.