Jefferson Award Winners - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Jefferson Award Winners: Kathy Christopherson and Margaret O'Flannagan


Barron County (WQOW)- You won't find them in high end department stores. "These aren't fancy quilts," explains Margaret O'Flannagan, "They're love quilts."

Kathy Christopherson and her 91-year-old mother Margaret don't even know how many they've made. The count has dropped off, but it's somewhere around 1,000.

The ties that bind these two women are the fabric that's been woven through a community. Kathy tries to recall where all the quilts have ended up, "To the nursing homes... all over!" Families who've lost their homes to fire are given a quilt. So are cancer patients, to keep warm during chemotherapy.  "And if someone's had surgery," chimes in Margaret, "We'll give them a quilt." Many go to emergency shelters like Benjamin's House in Rice Lake.

Kathy remembers the reaction of one homeless man, who was given a quilt. "He started to cry and said I have never, ever had someone give me a homemade quilt before. That's why we do it."

"Whether it's monetary whether it's household, donations are all completely essential to our existence here," adds Brenda Baribeau the executive director of Benjamin's House. "It's just nice to know that someone took that much time to care, to make a handmade quilt."

Kathy and Margaret are quick to shy from the spotlight. They'll tell you that the love that began this project has come full circle. Much of the fabric, yarn and batting is donated.

If you know someone you'd like to nominate for a Jefferson Award fill out an online nomination form by clicking here.


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