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Dye named Nebraska Navy Admiral

Dye named Nebraska Navy Admiral

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Panhandle Blocks-Quilt of Valor group leader and founder Kathy Dye was recently awarded with a certificate and recognized as an Admiral of the Navy of the Great State of Nebraska. The certificate was signed by Governor Pete Rickets and given to Dye by Senator Tom Brewer following a large Quilt of Valor presentation in Gordon. 

Admiral in the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska is the state of Nebraska's highest civic honor awarded to maybe one or two people a year. 

The award certificate describes the honor in a deliberately tongue-in-cheek fashion:

“And I (Ricketts) do strictly charge and require all officers, seamen, tadpoles and goldfish under your command to be obedient to your orders as Admiral—and you are to observe and follow, from time to time, such directions you shall receive, according to the rules and discipline of the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska.”

The use of the title of admiral, instead of some other high-ranking military title, is a humorous reference to the fact that Nebraska has no navy.

“None of what I do from my end would happen if you guys didn’t do what you do on your end; or the Legions or the Riders,” said Dye as she pointed to a room full of Panhandle Block members. 

“It takes all of us to do everything,” Dye said. “Every stitch, learning how to run the machines, teaching new quilters.”

Since April of 2018, Panhandle Blocks has been creating and presenting Quilts of Valor to veterans in western Nebraska. The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to honor military service members and veterans that have served or are currently serving our country.  These Quilts of Valor are lifetime awards stitched with love, prayers and healing thoughts.

Group member Margaret Lienemann and her husband Gene volunteer their basement for the Panhandle Blocks quilt group. 

“All of this was empty,” said Margaret Lienemann as she pointed to a wall of shelving filled with stacks of Patriotic themed fabric. 

“I had so much empty storage space and it’s just perfect for all of our fabric,” she added. 

The group receives fabric donations and are also able to purchase fabric from monetary donations as well as grants.

The Panhandle Blocks group meets once a week in the Lienemann’s basement, with the exception of some weeks during the summer months.

“In the summer we meet just once a month for a couple of hours just to stay connected and do a little show and tell,” said group leader Kathy Dye. “We start meeting once a week in the fall then take December off and start back up in January. Meeting gives us time to gather our inventory plus we get a lot of ideas and support from each other.”

The Lienemann’s lived in Sidney for over 20 years and were very active volunteers so they are no strangers to community service.

“We were active Chamber members there and now I’m on the committee for Keep Alliance Beautiful,” said Margaret. . 

She is quite the hostess as she bakes something for the group every Tuesday morning before the meeting.

“I try to bake something every Tuesday morning,” said Margaret with a smile as she passed out homemade peanut butter cookies. 

“We've had the privilege of celebrating veterans in Alliance, Hemingford, Gordon, Chadron, Crawford, and Hay Springs, just to name a few communities,” said Dye. “We've worked with local Legions and American Legion Riders as well as families to arrange presentations.

The Quilts of Valor community today includes over 10,000 members and volunteers across 600 groups in all 50 States.

Quilts of Valor began in 2003 by a Blue Star Mother named Catherine Roberts. A Blue Star Mother, as you may know, is a mother whose child is currently deployed. Catherine made the first Quilt of Valor when her son was deployed to Iraq. 

“Quilts of Valor have been presented in every state and to individuals from every branch of service,” said Dye. 

Nationally the Quilt of Valor group is near the 300,000 quilts donated total. The Panhandle Blocks just recently wrapped a veteran in their 500th Quilt of Valor. 

“If we weren’t doing this,” Dye said as she pointed to the room full of ladies working on quilts in one way or another, “then I could not have presented all of the quilts that we’ve wrapped veterans in.”

Dye presents each Quilt of Valor to the nominated veteran. 

“Whether it’s a large group of veterans surrounded by family and friends or a single veteran with only a few people in the room, each presentation is special and it just warms your heart,” said Dye. 

Panhandle Block members are of all ages and all levels of quilting and sewing skills - from beginner to expert. Dye has recently been working with students of the Immanuel Lutheran School on sewing quilt blocks together to be made into a Quilt of Valor. Local 4-H groups also contribute quilts to the group to be presented to local veterans. 

For more information about Panhandle Blocks or to nominate a veteran, contact Kathy Dye at 308-760-2491 or PanhandleBlocks@gmail.com.

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