By Martie Thompson
When Honeybee Quilt Guild member Anne Morgan read a post on a neighborhood social media site written by someone who was apparently scammed out of fabric and a sewing machine by an individual purporting to be a member of a local quilting guild, she was surprised and concerned. After all, in her experience, quilting guilds did a lot of philanthropic work and were generally made up of kind and generous individuals. When she learned that the scammer was supposed to have made a patriotic quilt to be raffled by the local American Legion Post 372, she knew she needed to try to help.
“I contacted the person who wrote the post,” Morgan said. “Her name was Kathy Helmly and she told me the name of the individual to whom she had given the fabric and the sewing machine as well as the quilting guild they said they were a member of. I contacted that guild and the person was not a member. They had completely misrepresented themselves.”
And Helmly, the president of the American Legion Auxiliary, was out not only the fabric and the sewing machine, but also a quilt that represented a major fundraiser for the American Legion Post. Helmly, who is the president of the American Legion Auxiliary, said their group was trying to support the American Legion in its efforts to raise awareness about its existence in the community.
“The purpose of the fundraiser is to raise awareness and recruit members so we can better support local veterans,” Helmly said.
She was upset and perplexed when, within two days of giving the fabric and sewing machine to the purported quilt guild members, she was unable to contact them and knew she had been scammed.
“So I wrote a warning post on the site,” Helmly said.
And that’s where Morgan came in.
Morgan said, after determining that Helmly had been scammed, she asked a fellow quilter in her guild if she could make a patriotic quilt for the American Legion Post’s fundraiser. As it happened, quilter Jeanie Jacobson was just finishing up such a quilt and, as a Navy veteran herself, was more than happy to donate it.
“I was delighted when Jeanie said she could donate the quilt,” Morgan said. “As a quilter, I feel we have such a tight community and it was important to me to keep our philanthropic reputation intact. I’m so glad it all worked out.”
Jacobson went on to present her quilt to the American Legion membership at their executive meeting in August.
According to Helmly, the group is now selling raffle tickets at $1 apiece and will continue to sell them until they have sold 1,000 tickets. An additional fundraiser will be a spaghetti dinner on Sept. 21 from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. at the Elks Lodge, 4280 Oldfield Crossing Drive, which the American Legion shares.
“This quilt donation was almost like a love story between the community and the veterans,” Helmly said. “We are so thankful.”
The American Legion provides life-changing assistance and guidance for veterans, military personnel, their families and communities. The American Legion Mandarin “Fallen Heroes” Post 372 meets the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Mandarin/St. Johns Elks Lodge, 4280 Oldfield Crossing Drive. There is a social hour at 6 p.m. with light refreshments prior to the meeting. Visit www.mandarinpost372.org for more information.
There are seven quilt guilds of Jacksonville that meet monthly at various locations to keep the art of quilting moving forward through generations using education to its membership. The guilds are also charitable organizations that donate quilts to numerous non-profits within the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area, including Wolfson Children’s Hospital, local nursing homes and battered women’s shelters. Visit www.honeybeequilters.com, or www.quiltfestjax.com for more information.
Photo courtesy American Legion Mandarin “Fallen Heroes” Post 372
Jeanie Jacobson presents her patriotic quilt to American Legion Mandarin “Fallen Heroes” Post 372 Commander Alan Painter.