Ed. note: We are reposting this previous entry this Memorial Day. Please note that the Grateful Nation Vest is currently available, thanks to the efforts of veterans like Chris Winters. Our respect and thanks to the men and women who have served in all branches of our military.
We have been making our Grateful Nation blanket for most of a decade, and for part of that time, we also made a Grateful Nation Vest. It honored veterans in two ways; by visually commemorating each of this century’s service ribbons, and by donations to The Fisher House Foundation. The Fisher House Foundation provides residences near military and VA medical centers for families of ill or wounded veterans and service members. A portion of the sale of each blanket goes to the Fisher House Foundation, as well.
Cue Chris Winters, a Puyallup tribal member and veteran who understood that we were no longer making the vest, but wanted to know if we had fabric available. He sent photos of his own vest.
Said Chris, “I am on a Tribal committee and we not only wear Pendleton vests for ceremonies. ..we gift your native blankets to guests, elders, and returning warriors.” Chris is very involved in IUPAT, a Washington State organization that offers outreach, support and training for Native veterans. This group marches in local parades honoring servicemen in their Grateful Nation vests, decorated with the medals earned by veterans who have served our country.
The role of Native Americans in our military cannot be understated. Books have been written and movies made about Native Code Talkers in both World Wars. The percentage of Native Americans serving in the military is higher than any other minority group in America.
We thought you’d enjoy seeing the vest worn in Tacoma, Washington area parades and ceremonies by Native veterans who have served our country well.
Here’s the blanket in the IUPAT office.
More information below on the meaning of each service ribbon stripe.
The Grateful Nation blanket honors the sacrifice of brave men and women who have defended freedom throughout the history of the United States of America. Each authentically colored stripe represents a service ribbon awarded to veterans of historical conflicts in which our country has engaged:
- World War II Asiatic Pacific Campaign
- World War II Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign
- Korean Service
- US Vietnam Service
- Southwest Asia Service (Gulf War)
- War on Terrorism
A portion of every blanket’s sale goes to support the Fisher House Foundation and its mission to support the families of veterans. As their website states:
Fisher House Foundation is best known for the network of comfort homes built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers nationwide and in Europe. Fisher Houses are beautiful homes, donated to the military and Department of Veterans Affairs. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful time – during the hospitalization for a combat injury, illness or disease… Since 1990, the foundation has saved military, veterans and their families an estimated $200 million in out of pocket costs for lodging and transportation.