Tecumseh Stories – Christine Hurley
When she was a little girl growing up in Monticello, Indiana, Christine Hurley came to Camp Tecumseh. Now as an adult, she’s an Air Force veteran, quilt camper, and the state coordinator for the Indiana Quilts of Valor foundation. We sat down with Christine to talk about her camp experience and her involvement in Quilts of Valor.
How did you get involved with Quilts of Valor?
I’ve presented quilts to veterans with Quilts of Valor for two years. I’m a quilter, and I’m also a veteran. As I was attending quilt meetings, I would hear about the foundation and the quilts veterans were awarded. I wanted to be a part of that. Once you do one, you’re hooked. Once you see the thanks the veterans have, sometimes they just break down in tears. Some service members, when they came back from their missions, weren’t welcomed home. To tell them “welcome home, welcome home,” is a good thing. You really see the good things America was built on by seeing these veterans and hearing their stories. There is so much good going for us.
Tell me about your service.
I was born and raised in Monticello Indiana. I attended Camp Tecumseh when I was a young girl and when I graduated from high school, I knew my family didn’t have the resources for college. I went out and enlisted and the rest is history. I spent 7 years, 4 years active and 3 years in the national guard. I served a security specialist, better known as an Air Force police officer.
What do you remember from your Camp experience?
I had the greatest counselor. She had pretty blonde hair down to her shoulders. I went canoeing and swimming and had so much fun. I was there for a week. I only went once because I had siblings and my parents had to save money for them to go too. I saw one of the old cabins that was here when I was a girl, and I walked in and said “Yep. This feels exactly like the cabin I stayed in. I have a picture somewhere, me and my counselor sitting on my bed, in our cabin just having a good time.
How did you get started with Quilting?
We moved from our custom built home that I liked to move closer to my husband’s family. I told him, “if you’re going to make me move to a older house, I’m going to get a sewing machine and become a quilter.”
When did you start coming to Quilt Camp?
I came to my first Quilt Camp in July of 2016. This is number two. I heard some of the ladies in my guild down in Indianapolis talking about, so I got on the internet and checked it out and decided that I’m going to go. When I got here, there was another new person from my guild and some other folks. There were a lot of people that I knew but I didn’t know they were coming.
What does your job as coordinator entail?
I encourage people to make quilts for us. I find presenters; that can be tough in areas of the state where you have to drive hours to deliver a quilt. I coordinate getting the quilts made, getting people to attend our sew days. It’s a lot of begging, pleading, and saying thank you. It’s a lot of public relations.
I’m blown away by the amount of quilts Quilts of Valor has produced.
144,000 as of now.
That’s so many quilts with so many veterans. As you think back on your time as a coordinator, what are those highlights moments for you.
I came back to present in Monticello because there was a man I used to work with. He was a Vietnam veteran. When I knew him years ago, he had very bad memories from his service in Vietnam. I called his wife and she said he’s struggling. He’s very depressed. I showed up and surprised him, gave him a quilt of valor, and I said “Welcome home, welcome home.” He cried and just gave me the biggest hug and said, “nobody ever welcomed me home.” So that’s what we need to do. We need to be good to our veterans and each other. That’s what it’s all about. There is only one chance to do it, and we need to do it right.