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Fort Macleod veteran honoured by Quilt of Valor presentation

Capt. John McDonald (left) presents a Quilt of Valor to friend Nigel Edmunds, a retired Canadian Armed Forces medic.

Capt. John McDonald (left) presents a Quilt of Valor to friend Nigel Edmunds, a retired Canadian Armed Forces medic.

A Fort Macleod man got an unexpected hug from a friend on Saturday.
Nigel Edmunds was presented with a Quilt of Valor by his long-time friend John McDonald.
“He’s a great guy,” said McDonald, a captain in the Canadian Armed Forces. “The best friend a guy could ask for.”
Volunteers with Quilts of Valor — Canada creates the quilts, which they call “hugs,” and arrange to have them presented to veterans in recognition of service to their country.
On Saturday at China City Restaurant, McDonald reflected on the experience of presenting the quilt to Edmunds.
“It’s kind of two-fold,” said McDonald, who has known Edmunds for 15 years. “I had the opportunity to do something good for a friend and for a fellow veteran. Our veterans are special, but to be able to do this for a friend makes it that much more special for me.”
Quilts of Valor — Canada was formed informally in 2006 with the presentation of quilts to three soldiers seriously wounded in Afghanistan.
The organization has continued with a mission to honour injured veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces for their service to county.
Quilts of Valor has presented 6,000 quilts to veterans across Canada.
“I think they need that hug,” said Joan Barrett, a representative of the Lethbridge branch of Quilts of Valor — Canada. “We call them Hugs Across the Nation, and it’s to hopefully make them feel better, to think that there is other people out there who care about what they do, and what they’ve done, and what they have sacrificed.”
Quilters work on their own or with their guilds to make the quilts, which measure between 50 inches by 70 inches to 72 inches by 96 inches.
Quilters are encouraged to label the quilt with the names or initials of the people who made it and can include a self-addressed, stamped postcard.
Quilters can also write a letter of comfort or support for the veteran who receives the quilt.
“I got involved two years ago mainly because I’m a quilter,” Barrett said. “Everybody in my family now has a quilt, so what am I going to do because I’m not going to stop quilting. I think the veterans need it.”
Edmunds moved to Fort Macleod last fall with his wife Bernadette Lariviere and her son Joseph, 11.
Edmunds was released from the armed forces in 2012 after serving as a medic for close to 14 years, most recently with 2 Field Ambulance in Petawawa, Ont.
Edmunds grew up at Stony Plain and after being a cadet decided to join the armed forces.
Edmunds worked as a field medic and also served in clinics. He was trained as a flight medic as well.
He served in Afghanistan in 2008 and 2009, and sailed the Pacific Ocean when he was posted on ships.
Edmunds is on long-term disability as the result of a number of injuries sustained over his career.
Receiving the quilt from his long-time friend McDonald, in the company of family and friends, was an unexpected and appreciated pleasure.
“It’s a nice gesture,” Edmunds said. “It means a lot. You don’t get people giving you something in a way to truly thank you for your service.”
Anyone who would like to volunteer with Quilts of Valor — Canada can contact Joan Barrett at 403-380-6796 or ab-lethbridge@quiltsofvalor.ca.

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