It is the spirit of helping that gets musicians of all levels to play music for twelve hours straight (thus the name MARATHON Jam). At the end of that wonderful event we bestow the earned black T-shirt and title of “Iron Picker” on those musicians who play the entire twelve hours. Those talented and giving players and the music they make are the backbone of our annual fund raising event on the last Saturday of February and most of them go on to become Marathon Jam Hospital Volunteers who play several times a week at VA Hospitals all across North Carolina. The music is beautiful and spirited, and is a compelling testament to our admiration for the people we honor.
One of the most emotionally powerful things we do at the annual Marathon Jam is to wrap deserving Veterans, First Responders and their families.
We bring them up in front of the audience and the assembled musicians, tell their stories, and then present them with their custom made red, white, and blue Marathon Jam Quilt Of Honor.
These quilts are made with so much love that virtually everyone who is wrapped in them almost instantly bursts into tears; and those are tears of joy and belonging. We call our volunteer quilters Iron Quilters because each quilt is such an amazing labor of love and takes HOURS and HOURS of painstaking work to complete.
We try to provide material for these quilts as best we can, but over the years most of our quilts have been paid for by the quilters themselves and then donated to Marathon Jam and we are forever in their debt.
Because of our generous Iron Quilters we have wrapped and honored Veterans from virtually every modern theater: WWII, Vietnam, Korea, and of course the Gulf and Middle East wars. We have wrapped soldiers in wheel chairs, soldiers with PTSD, and people from all branches of service, from the Coast Guard to 911 Operators. We have also wrapped families in memory of those who have served and given all.
We have seen firsthand how these quilts become treasured possessions.
Many of our Veterans tell us they sleep under their Quilt every night.
Some First Responders have had their Quilts FRAMED and have them hanging on their walls.
Others keep them close by, on beds or couches, so they are always in reach when that warmth and love and those wonderful MEMORIES need to be accessed.
People often ask us, “How many quilts do you need?” and the answer to that is simple:
WHATEVER NUMBER OF QUILTS WE GET EACH YEAR IS THE NUMBER OF DESERVING VETERANS AND FIRST RESPONDERS WE WILL WRAP.
If you’d like to become an Iron Quilter (or HELP our Quilters with supplies and material), please get in touch.
- Laura Hieronimus Bishop
- Vickie Holder
- Ann Jackson
- Norma J. Jones
- Margaret Reynolds
- Beverly Wheeler