Honoring Dad with a Quilt of Valor - The Jolly Jabber Quilting Blog

Honoring Dad with a Quilt of Valor

For a handful of years, the fantastic organization Quilts of Valor has captured our hearts and inspired us to support this worthy cause. A Quilt of Valor (QOV) is a quality, handmade quilt awarded to a Service Member or Veteran who has been touched by war. We donate to the Quilts of Valor Foundation each year, and we designed a free quilt pattern that meets the QOV standards called William’s Honor in remembrance of Kimberly’s father, who served in the National Guard.

When one of our longtime staff members said she would like to sew and award a quilt to honor her father for his years of military service, we were proud to support her in this! Cathy will share her plans to make her quilt and gift it to her father here on our blog this year. Here is her story in her own words.

Cathy’s Story

My name is Carleen, but I am called by my middle name, “Cathy.”

I’m on the accounting team here at Fat Quarter Shop, with a large amount of time spent on clubs.

I love helping my customers get everything sorted so they can enjoy all their goodies.

I basically have NO quilting experience. With a large family to raise, spare time is far and few between. I have for the past year been participating in the 2022 Solids club project as my very first quilt, and I have all of my blocks pieced, but I’ve set that aside to make this quilt for my dad. So, when I complete this quilt, it will technically be my first quilt sewn to completion. I have watched Kimberly’s tutorial for this pattern and plan to follow it exactly like she says. I’m also tackling this one because of our great team. I will have lots of help when I need it!

I am the baby of my family, fourth born to Major Carlos Cesar Carrales Sr., aka “Dad.”

I’ve always looked up to and adored my dad. As a young girl, I did not see imperfections in anyone, least of all my dad. He was funny and attentive during the times that we were together. He was away for long days of work and still had a lot of training to attend when I was young, but I’m pretty sure he was the one leading the training by then. I was born post-Vietnam, but once my dad went on to Panama, we no longer lived together. I did get to visit him in Panama for a couple of weeks with my brother, and it was a fantastic trip!

During his career, my dad served in Ft Devens, MA; Korea; Ft Riley, KS; Ft Bragg, NC; Ft Sill, OK; Ft Rucker, AL; Vietnam; Ft Campbell, KY; Panama; Rio Grande College in Ohio and Ft Hood, TX.

My dad attended Oklahoma State University and received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. He went on to attend jump school and flight school and battled as an infantry and helicopter pilot. He served with the 187th Assault Helicopter Company for the US Army and flew the Huey (UH-C and D models) some but logged over 1,000 hours in the AH-1G Cobra Attack helicopter. He retired in 1985 as a Major. He then went on to get a teaching degree at UTSA after retirement and taught elementary school for a time in the valley here in Texas.

Some of the fondest memories I have with my dad were the rides in the car when he came to pick me up, and we would go camping or back to his house to play games and eat good food. He always made me laugh, and our time together felt lighthearted and easy. I still have an entire shoebox full of letters he wrote me during our time apart.

I want my dad to be remembered as a dedicated soldier that gave his lifetime of service to protect our freedom. I would also like him to be remembered as a dad that, as soon as he experienced a personal relationship with Christ, shared His perfect love and strived to be the example that was called of him. Never giving up, and never turning back!

As my dad struggles with the physical and mental aftermath of the battle experience and soldier life, I want to honor the man that I am SO proud to call “Dad” to comfort him, knowing that it was all worth it. That he is loved and appreciated!

Follow Along & Share with Us!

Follow #DadsQOVQuilt this year to stay inspired and updated as Cathy sews her Dad’s Quilt of Valor. Return to the blog in December to see the Award Ceremony and Cathy’s final quilt!

If Cathy’s inspired you, visit the Quilts of Valor Foundation and find out how to make a QOV of your own to thank a Veteran for their service and sacrifice in serving our nation or donate to this wonderful cause.


  1. Wonderful Cathy I will be following your progress, such a great way to honor your dad and his great noble service to our country.

  2. Thank you for your service Major Carlos Cesar Carrales Sr.

    Cathy – Love your selection of fabric and design. Can’t wait to see it finished!

  3. It’s quite an experience fort receive a QOV quilt. My brother was presented with one on August 8th, 2023 & it was very touching. I’m so glad I was advised to nominate him for the honor. Granbury Quilt Guild made the stunning quilt & presented it. Your dad with cherish the quilt & your thoughtfulness.

  4. Cathy, Good luck on your QOV. Your Dad is going to feel so loved and honored when you award him with it

  5. Thank you for your service Major Carlos Cesar Carrales Sr. The QOVF organization is so worthwhile to be a part of and support. Good for you, Kathy, to do this for your father and to take on this “first” quilt in his honor.

    1. Ginny, I’m passing along to him all the “Thank You”‘s He is so happy and I could not think of a better 1st project. He will love all the imperfections in it, I’m sure.

  6. Wonderful article but I would like to remind everyone that women are veterans too, so it could be Mom, Grandma, sister, aunt who are veterans. Woman veterans are many, many times forgotten or invisible- yet we serve right along with the men. I am a 21 year veteran of the Navy and a strong supporter of the QOV program. Women serve too.

  7. In my family I am surrounded by men veterans. However, I am also a veteran. Let us not forget about our 1.66 million women veterans (2021). I know Kimberly made William’s Honor for her dad. How about a quilt design for our women veterans? I’d make it and gift it to myself 😆 Btw, my father’s name is also William and I’ll be making William’s Honor for him. My oldest son’s name is also William so perhaps I’ll make two 🤷🏻‍♀️ (they’re both veterans).

  8. Kathy, I salute Maj Carrales. I know the training he went through to be able to fly. And that’s just the training! I thank him and I thank you and the rest of the family. Without your support he would not have been successful. I’ll be following your progress 😊

    1. Thank you for your service Ileana. I always thought I would end up making my own QOV but was honored to receive one from a friend. Sadly, as you know we woman vets are overlooked or ignored. Put yourself in for a QOV in your local state. You deserve one too.

    2. Thank you for your service Ileana! And for sure, if it had been my mom, sister or aunt I would be doing the same thing.

  9. Thanks to your father for his life of dedicated service! Love this story, and I am looking forward to watching the progress and completion of this quilt. I’m also curious as to the modifications that were required.

  10. How wonderful that you are learning to make a quilt with a
    QOV for your dad! I am such a fan of our military and love to honor them with this program. Please thank your father for his service and I look forward to seeing your finished project. I’m always looking for another pattern for this program so I’m certain to be making it too. ❤️

    1. Yay Rose, passing the “thank you’s” along to him and I should be an expert at flying geese by the time I’m finished. 😂

  11. Aww what a great tribute to your dad Kathy. We thank him for his service! I just finished a QOV for my father-in-law who served in Vietnam as well and retired after 20 years in the Air Force. It felt wonderful to be able to gift him with his quilt. He was so surprised and honored. I’m sure your dad will treasure it always!

  12. My son in law was awarded the QOV in August 2023 by the Chehallis Veterans. I had nominated him after seeing a QOV at a quilters retreat in Oregon. I am a quilter and have asked to volunteer my time. My four children are all ex military and I have encouraged their families to also honor them as they were a part of Desert Storm and Iraq.

  13. My son in law was awarded the QOV in August 2023 by the Chehallis Veterans. I had nominated him after seeing a QOV at a quilters retreat in Oregon. I am a quilter and have asked to volunteer my time. My four children are all ex military and I have encouraged their families to also honor them as they were a part of Desert Storm and Iraq.

  14. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story with us. As for your father, Thank You for your many years of service SIR. I am looking forward keeping up with this journey Cathy.

  15. What a beautiful story Cathy. Treasure every minute you get to spend on your quilt. I’m sure it will be beautiful just like your story.

  16. Cathy, I think this is a wonderful thing you are doing to honor your dad. Your quilt is going to be beautiful, and just think how excited you’ll be to present this special quilt to your dad. Please extend to your dad my thanks for his years of service to our country. Can’t wait to see your quilting progress.

  17. I want to thank ALL of your encouraging words! This was a big step out of my comfort zone, but that is what we do when we focus on someone else. I am blessed to still have my dad and I’m so happy to encourage others to bless someone special to them!

  18. What a beautiful story and a beautiful way to honor your father! And to know it will be your first quilt makes it even more precious! This is wonderful Cathy! ❤️🇺🇸

  19. Mr. Carrales was my 6th grade teacher back in 1992-1993. He and his wife were amazing to me and my siblings. He made our Christmases special. He’d send us gifts even after he moved from the Valley. The only gifts I received as a child were from him, so my siblings and I will always be thankful to him. We remember him fondly and pray that he is well. If he remembers, tell him Maritza Martinez said “hello!” He bought us Christmas gifts for years even after they moved to another state. I think it was Ohio or Virginia. I don’t remember. I’d write to him all the time because he was kind and always helped me get closer to God! What an amazing human being!!

    1. Maritza! I don’t know how you found this, but thank you so much for your reply! My Dad and Diana are in Ohio. I cannot wait for his upcoming visit in December. I will show this to comment to him. They are a special couple indeed! Bless you!

  20. I have the same thoughts & feelings of my dad. Gone now since 2007 but since still loved & adored. Thank you for sharing.