by Kathy Doebert
American Legion Auxiliary Unit 243
Linda Wieck of Plymouth has been chosen by AARP for the 2021 Andrus Award for Community Service for the State of Wisconsin. Each year AARP honors the founder of AARP, Dr. Andrus, by presenting a volunteer with the AARP Andrus Community Service Award. AARP’s commitment to volunteer service can be traced to the life and vision of Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus.
Nominees for the AARP Andrus Award for Community Service must meet the following requirements:
• Nominee must be 50 years or older
• The achievements, accomplishments, or service must have been performed on a volunteer basis without pay.
• The achievements, accomplishments, or service must reflect AARP’s vision and purpose
• The achievements, accomplishments, or service must be replicable and provide inspiration for others to volunteer.
There are some people who have a passion to help others. Linda Wieck, 72, is one of those people. Linda Wieck has devoted a major portion of her life to volunteering by sewing camo quilts and patriotic quilts for soldiers and veterans. Linda started the Camo Quilt Project in Plymouth, Wisconsin in 2006.
She made one Camo quilt for her son in law who was in service, other members of her son-in-law’s unit saw the quilt and they asked for one. That began the Camo Quilt Project. Linda started to get more orders for quilts from servicemen and she needed to solicit more volunteers to help with the incoming orders.
The Project has continued to grow under the direction of Linda Wieck, and help from other volunteers. Linda devotes every Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday from 9 am to 3 pm for volunteers to come and sew quilts for soldiers and veterans. She also adds more hours when large orders for the Camo
Quilts are requested. Soldiers and veterans are not charged for the quilts. Money is also raised through brat fries, and dinners to purchase fabric, batting, and thread and needed supplies for quilt making. Since 2006, the Camo Quilt Project has made over 30 thousand camo quilts for active servicemen and women.
Linda works patiently teaching volunteers how to sew the camo quilts. She also helps volunteers make patriotic quilts for veterans in area nursing homes.
An avid quilter herself, Linda shares her love of sewing with others getting them involved in sewing and quilting. She has gotten local 4H clubs, boyscout troops, girl scouts and school groups to help with the Camo Quilt Project. Every quilt that is given out also has a handmade card thanking the soldier or veteran for their service. So card making is another way volunteers get involved.
Linda Wieck has also been active in helping with other sewing projects like making breast cancer pillows, Quilts of Valor, COVID mask making, and aprons for food service workers at an area nursing home. Linda and volunteers made 16 thousand masks for area schools, businesses, nursing homes, soldiers, churches and individuals.
Linda works with other organizations with special sewing projects like making breast cancer pillows for cancer patients. Linda loves to sew and her latest project involved making bright and cheery aprons for the food service staff at a local nursing home. The food service workers were very grateful and the patients enjoy seeing the cheery aprons on staff members. All of these projects have helped community members. Linda’s enthusiasm in using her sewing talents
Linda’s work as a volunteer aligns with AARP vision of that everyone ages with dignity and purpose because she enthusiastically works to help soldiers and veterans and community members. She is a strong role model for others to become volunteers no matter how old they are. She is patient with all of the volunteers both young and old, encouraging the volunteers to do their best and helping volunteers to feel successful.
A majority of the Camo Quilt Project volunteers are over 65 years old. Volunteers enjoy helping the soldiers and veterans and they feel grateful to be able to help.
The AARP purpose statement is that the AARP empowers people to choose how they live as they age. Linda Wieck has chosen to be an active enthusiastic volunteer helping others with her sewing talents. Her ability to work with people of all ages encourages others to volunteer while learning about quilting and sewing. Recipients of the quilts, masks, pillows and aprons are grateful for the gift while all of the volunteers including Linda can see how the gift of volunteering makes some one’s life better.
Linda’s long term commitment to the Camo Quilt Project is particularly inspiring. For fifteen years Linda has devoted every Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday to working with other volunteers to make quilts for soldiers and veterans.
She also stepped up when COVID brought the need for masks to be worn. She made over 2000 masks herself and she helped other volunteers to make 14 thousand masks. She also willingly helps to speak to various clubs and groups about volunteering. She is an inspiration to everyone she works with.
Linda will be presented with a $1,000 donation for the Camo Quilt Project which will be used to continue to service soldiers and veterans.
Congratulations to Linda Wieck, American Legion Auxiliary Member Unit 243 and a special thank you to all the volunteers who help make the Camo Quilt project a success.