NMCRS Groton displays "century" quilt
By: JO1 (SW/AW) Mark A. Savage
© 2004 Reprinted with permission from The Dolphin
This past January, the Navy/Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) celebrated their
100th anniversary of helping Sailors, Marines and their families in need. To mark
this milestone in the society's history, the NMCRS created a quilt saluting their
service to the Navy and Marine Corps family around the world.
The quilt is currently on a world tour of all full service NMCRS offices to allow each
office to show off the final product to which they contributed. On April 23, the NMCRS
Groton Branch received the quilt to display here for the Naval Submarine Base New London
"I've seen the quilt in brochures and magazines, but this is the first time I've seen it
in person," said Capt. James E. Ratte Jr. SUBASE commanding officer. "To see something of
that quality, from a craftsmanship standpoint, it's a beautiful product. At the same time,
take a look at it from the NMCRS standpoint and you recognize that the squares all belong
to different activities.
"It makes you appreciate how broad an organization NMCRS is. When you join them (squares)
all together they all produce the same kind of product - which is service to our Sailors and
Marines and their families," Ratte said.
The NMCRS headquarters in Washington, D.C., organized the production of the quilt around the
end of last summer. They sent the fabric to all their full service offices around the world,
and a representative from each office created one square depicting their office.
At NMCRS Groton branch, Mary Jo Dufort, the chairman of volunteers, created the square for
SUBASE. It shows a submarine passing Ledge Light in the Thames River. While she enjoyed making
the SUBASE patch, she said she was impressed by the handiwork other branches put into the quilts
"I'm very partial to Camp Pendleton's patch," she said. "I think it's very unique. It's quilted,
and there's a lot of hand piecing in it. It's very creative and original."
The Camp Pendleton square featured a desert scene with a Conestoga wagon in the foreground. There
were also 56 other squares representing the different NMCRS offices, each with their unique designs,
surrounding the NMCRS "A Century of Service" seal in the center of the quilt.
All the completed squares were returned to the NMCRS headquarters, and they sought out a contractor
to bring the parts together, forming the final product.
"I think the quilt is incredible," Dufort said. "I'm a quilter and to me this is beyond description.
We are being very careful with it because it will eventually hang in our headquarters in Washington,
D.C., for posterity."
The NMCRS Groton branch held on to the quilt for one week and showed it off on SUBASE and at a luncheon
at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard before sending it to Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine. The quilt will
continue on its world tour until December or January when it will be returned to the NMCRS headquarters.
©2004 The Dolphin
Reprinted with permission from The Dolphin
The Dolphin staff can be reached at (860) 694-3514 or write to: The Dolphin, Naval Submarine Base NLON PAO, Box 44, Groton, CT 06349-5044