Catherine Roberts

Meet Catherine Roberts, the Founder of Quilts of Valor Foundation 

Catherine Roberts, Founder QOVF

Hello.  I'd like to introduce myself to you. My name is Catherine Roberts, and I founded Quilts of Valor Foundation in November 2003. 

As far as my biography goes, here's the Cliff Note version.  I was born in San Diego in September of 1949.   I attended Catholic schools until college when I attended San Francisco State College where the theme was 'sex, drugs, & rock’n roll' when we were not protesting some social situation like the Vietnam War. 

 After graduation, I heeded JFK's admonition to do for your country by joining the Peace Corps in Ecuador.  A marriage, two kids, and divorce later, I went to nursing school in RI where I met Chris, my  husband.   We had 2 more kids and then I got my masters at Yale in nurse-midwifery.  I worked for 3 years in the Bronx, NY, as a nurse-midwife.  We finally had enough living in the NE corridor, so we moved to southern Delaware where we resided for the next 15 years.   

 It was after 9/11 that things changed radically for me.  I retired from doing active clinical midwifery and in late 2003, started QOVF as a result of my older son, Nat's, upcoming deployment  to Iraq as a gunner for his Humvee. 

 Knowing that I was "10 seconds from panic" while he was deployed, I had this vision of a post-deployed warrior struggling with his war demons at 2 in the morning.  I saw him sitting on the side of his bed wrapped in a quilt.  That quilt not only comforted but warded off his war demons.  Thus QOVF was founded.  The mission was simple:  To cover all those wounded warriors with both physical and psychologically wounds with a Quilt of Valor.  The focus was on warriors from Iraq/Afghanistan rather than other wars/conflicts.

 I believe my background in the health care field, mental illness in my family, and a son in the Army were the ingredients that helped determine how the QOVF would ultimately be shaped. 

The quilting partnership between piecers and quilters sort of fell into my lap mostly thanks to Janet-Lee Santusanio of MQX.  The volunteer partnering of longarmers with piecers of quilt tops was where the magic really took hold.  Good pieced tops became beautifully quilted quilts thanks to the machine quilters. 

The final parts of the puzzle were the Points of Contact who took our QOVs and awarded them to the wounded warriors.  

This whole process started with one QOV going to Walter Reed with the assistance from Chaplain John Kallerson (LtCol).  Since that first quilt, we have awarded more than 30,000 QOVs and we are still counting.

In 2007, my husband, Chris, who is an ER doc, accepted a new job, and we moved out west.  We have four kids who are all out of the nest: Michele, who is married with 2 beautiful children; Nat, a Purple Heart recipient and veteran; Hannah, a newly minted Navy ensign deployed on a ship; and Everett, a recent St John graduate (Annapolis). .  We now live in western Washington in the Pacific Northwest  with our two dogs, Tory a Jack Russell, and Max an English bulldog and love it.  

After  seven years of almost constant 24/7 at the QOVF helm, I am exploring new avenues to help get our message to the masses.  I am heading our new "Cover'em Productions" in addition to being on the QOVF board.

The one thing that still resonates is this:  All our combat warriors merit our healing and comforting Quilts of Valor.  This means from any conflict.  That translates into many, many more QOVs to make in the years to come.  

November 2012

An update. I am on the QOVF Board and now wear the hat of Executive Director of Cover'em Productions. In addition to this, I am returning back to midwifery clinical practice. Lots going on but one thing remains the dedication to covering those who have stood in harm's way with our comforting and healing QOVs.