CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) –
Law enforcement officers will tell you they are all cut from the same cloth.
Well, this week on Chicago Stories, a stunning creation symbolizes that very belief.
After a year of hard work from a dedicated group of eight volunteers, the Quilt to Remember is complete.
“We are done. This is our finished project.”
It’s a historical project more than a year in the making.
“We couldn’t be more proud of our group effort.”
The Quilt to Remember started from scratch. A small group of volunteers collected hundreds of shirts from Chicago police officers, active duty and retried, and some from officers killed in the line of duty.
“We will cut out these small pieces here and connect them all together.”
Each shirt is carefully hand prepared for the quilt.
“There is something very special about having something made by loving hands.”
The process took the volunteer quilters months and months to complete, with nothing going to waste.
“We cut all the shirts into strips and we salvaged the buttons.”
The project took countless hours of long arm quilting in a log cabin pattern.
“A labor of love. In cutting, sewing, and ironing, and seam ripping.”
Each piece of fabric has its own story to tell, some of great triumph and others of great sacrifice.
“One of the wives of a fallen police officer said I have held on to his shirts for so long, waiting for the right opportunity, not knowing what to do with them, but not being able to part with his shirts. She gave us two of his uniform shirts, and they are built into the quilts,” said 18th District Community Police Sergeant Cynthina Schumann.
The finished quilt is 112 inches by 112 inches, with hundreds of pieces stitched together, and a canvas that includes the names of fallen Chicago police officers.
It’s a stunning visual with a powerful message.
“We are held together by that bond as family. We will never forget those who came before us or those who will come after us,” Schumann added.
The quilt will be officially unveiled on May 3rd at the 18th district’s St. Jude Memorial Breakfast.
The makers of the quilt want it to be on display for the public, so it might be a traveling quilt, with hopes to ultimately donate it to the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.