West Jordan Eagle Scout Presents

Baby Quilts to Utah Military Families

 

Written by Shad West

Published November 7, 2006

 

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Michael Duckworth, center, presents baby quilts to members of the U.S. Marine Corps and Utah Army and Air National Guards Nov. 1.

Photo by Sgt. Kelly Collett

Michael Duckworth, center, presents baby quilts to members of the

 Marine Corps Reserve and Utah Army and Air National Guards Nov. 1.

DRAPER, UtahAn Eagle Scout project is touching the lives of deployed Utah service members and their families. 

Michael Duckworth, 12, of West Jordan presented 70 hand-made quilts to Utah National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet in a ceremony Nov. 1 at the Utah National Guard headquarters. The quilts, all with an American flag in the patchwork, are wrapped in yarn along with a personal letter from Duckworth. They will be given to the families of deployed Airmen, Marines, Sailors and Soldiers. 

To make the quilts Duckworth gathered supplies through donations. More than 120 volunteers donated more than 280 man-hours to the collecting and quilting of the blankets in two months. 

While the quilting was primarily left to those who know how to sew, the heartfelt letter was written by Duckworth himself. 

“I want you to know that you are not alone,” he wrote. “There are children just like you that are born or raised without their father, and some who never knew their father because they were serving or killed overseas fighting for our freedom.”

Before the presentation, Duckworth said he wasn’t sure how families would react to his gift, saying he felt nervous.

Marine Sgt. Robert Renova and his wife Debbi, recipients of one of the baby quilts provided by Eagle Scout candidate Michael Duckworth.

Photo by Sgt. Kelly Collett

Marine Sgt. Robert Renova and his wife Debbi, recipients of one of the baby quilts provided by Eagle Scout candidate Michael Duckworth.

“In my mind’s eye I don’t know what their reaction will be,” Duckworth said. “It’s kind of exciting to think about their reaction. I hope they will cherish it and keep it forever.”

One of the first families to receive a quilt was Marine Sgt. Robert Renova and his wife Debbi. Both were awed by the gift, and the young man who provided it.

“I can’t say enough how much I appreciate this,” Sergeant Renova said. “It’s hard to say how much it touched me when I actually read the letter. It’s really impressive and I can’t wait to share it with my son.”

Debbi agreed.

“It made me feel really good that someone so young would want to do something like this,” she said. “The letter was really comforting.”

Duckworth’s family is impressed by their son’s maturity too. Ken Duckworth said his son organized the project, taking ownership from the outset. 

“This project was his from the very beginning,” Ken said. “He felt very strongly about this. I think it comes from the way he was raised. His grandfather served in the Air Force and I’m in law enforcement.  He is rooted in a deep respect for those who serve their community.”

Michael Duckworth, center, and his Scouting-oriented family at the blanket-presentation ceremony in Draper.

Photo by Sgt. Kelly Collett

Michael Duckworth, center, and his Scouting-oriented

family at the blanket-presentation ceremony in Draper.

And Duckworth is already working toward his next goal, an appointment to the Air Force Academy after high school.

“He’s in school working toward that,” Ken said. “He’s mature beyond his years.”

Jill Lukes, Air National Guard Family Readiness Coordinator who helped bring the different branches of Utah’s Guard and Reserve elements together for the ceremony, called Michael an amazing young man.

“He is an amazing young man that took on a pretty huge feat,” Lukes said. “I know the excitement he generated firsthand. I’ve seen the families who have received a blanket, and it just shows this young man really cares about our families.”

The quilts are available to families with service members deployed overseas who are expecting or have newborn babies. For more information, contact the Utah National Guard Family Programs office at (801) 523-4080.