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‘Thank you for your service’ | Iraq veteran in Shelbyville gives handmade quilt to 105-year-old WWII veteran

For more than a decade, Judy King has been making handmade quilts, but she had never given one to someone 105 years old.

INDIANAPOLIS — As the county takes a moment to recognize the service and sacrifice of millions on Veterans Day, one woman in Shelbyville found a special way to do it year-round.  

For more than a decade, Judy King has been making handmade quilts, but she has never given one to someone 105 years old. 

That is, until she learned of Helen Guthrie.  

It turns out the two have something very special in common. They are both female veterans.  

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Guthrie served in the U.S. Navy in 1943 and became one of the first WAVES, or Women Accepted For Voluntary Emergency Service. She served just over two years as a petty officer 1st class cryptographer in the Japanese intelligence section.  

Credit: WTHR/Lauren Kostiuk

King served in the Army in the early 2000s and was deployed to Iraq. It’s an experience that later inspired King to start making quilts for veterans after she received one when she came back to the states.  

In 2010, King and her friend Madonna Babyak started a quilting group in Parke County. King later moved to Shelbyville and joined another group called Block Party.  

Credit: WTHR/Lauren Kostiuk

With the help of others, she has given away more than 1,500 quilts to veterans.  

On Monday, King added one more to that list by hand delivering a red, white and blue quilt to Guthrie at her Indianapolis home.  

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“Today, Petty Officer Guthrie, we would like to present you this quilt of honor and tell you thank you for your service because nobody could have done what you did in World War II,” King said.  

“That is beautiful,” Guthrie replied.  

It’s said every quilt tells a story, and this one is truly special.

Stitched on the corner is even a personal message that reads, “Presented to WWII Veteran Helen Guthrie, Made by Sylvia Spurling, Quilted by Judy King, Iraq Combat Veteran.”    

“You’ll see, you got red, white and blue stars all over this quilt for our freedom,” King said. “You set the road for others like myself. Thank you for your service.” 

“Honey, you are welcome,” Guthrie said. 

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