Myrtle Beach Shore Birds honor new group of veterans

Thomas Irwin spent more than 20 years serving his country. Sunday, the Myrtle Beach Shore Birds thanked him with a Quilt of Valor. (Taggart Houck/WPDE)

Each of the 34 quilts laid on a table at Ocean Lakes Campground Sunday told a story.

Some sported a soaring Bald Eagle. Others had meticulously crafted patterns. Their designs, each crafted one by one.

“It takes a village to make a quilt,” said Joan Wobbleton.

Wobbleton and her husband, Jim, dedicate themselves, along with other members of the Myrtle Beach Shore Birds, to make quilts for veterans who’ve served during conflict.It's a symbol of thanks and appreciation. The group is national and the Wobbleton’s have achieved extraordinary success during the last several years along the Grand Strand.

Last year, they awarded more than 700 veterans. This year, their to-do list includes more than 300 already.The 34 men who walked away with a quilt Sunday included a World War II veteran, a soldier from the Korean War, Vietnam and Afghanistan.

“It’s incredible that this is all happening today. It’s so nice,” said Carl James, a veteran and recipient.

“We live in the greatest country in the world. We do. And freedom doesn’t come free,” said Thomas Irwin, also a recipient.

Irwin joined the South Carolina National Guard in 1987. It was the start to his 21-year career in the military. He spent time in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, before eventually becoming a Purple Heart recipient. Earning a quilt, he said, was special.

“It’s an amazing feeling.”

Although, he said, he couldn’t help but think about his peers who may not have been as lucky.

“The goosebumps that run up my arm, the ones who can’t get the quilt draped over, cause they got a flat draped over ‘em instead,” he said.

But, it’s a club in which he’s proud to be a member. If he had to, he’d be back on the front lines again.

“These guys fought for you, they left their families and their loved ones go go fight for yours and every one of them would do it again,” he said.

Quilts of Valor started in 2003. Nationally, the group has awarded more than 211,000 quilts.

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