Strawberry Quilter Honored By State Guild

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Willene Smith of Strawberry was honored by the Arizona Quilters Guild with its Humanitarian Award in April.

She was recognized for "a contribution that has been one of long and dedicated service, whose leadership has been a beacon for others to follow, whose willingness to give has stood the test of time."

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Willene Smith, a quilter from Strawberry, received the Arizona Quilters Guild Humanitarian Award in April.

The award was presented to Smith on April 22 and is now named for her.

"I was just speechless," Smith said. "I had no idea it was going to happen. And when they named it for me, it just floored me."

Smith accepted the award, not just for herself, but on behalf of all the members of the Strawberry Patchers, she said. "I don't do this for the recognition, I do it because it's from my heart and they are all the same way."

Smith has served the AQG in many capacities, including holding the office of president, but most notably through the organization and continued supervision of the Arizona Department of Public Safety Program.

This statewide program was initiated by Smith in 1990 and provides quilts to the Department of Public Safety to distribute to adults and children in traumatic situations.

Called "trauma quilts," nearly 4,000 have been delivered to DPS from guild chapters throughout Arizona.

The Strawberry Patchers' most recent three-day quilt-a-thon resulted in 251 more quilts for the DPS.

While Smith shares the AQG Humanitarian Award with her fellow "patchers" in spirit, the entire group is scheduled to be honored by DPS later this year, she said.

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