'I'm in awe': Korean War veterans given Quilts of Valour in Kingston, Ont.

Eight members of the Korean Veterans Association were presented with with quilts from Quilts of Valour in Kingston, Ont. (Kimberley Johnson/CTV News Ottawa

Several Korean War veterans have been honoured in a unique way in Kingston.

On Thursday, the eight members of the Korean Veterans Association were presented with quilts at Kingston’s Legion Branch on Montreal Street, as a thank you for their service. The quilts brought many across the country together to make it happen.

The quilts are by Quilts of Valour, a non-profit organization that makes them for military serviceman, injured in the line of duty.

For Keith Colborne, the hand-stitched thank you left the 92-year-old speechless.

"I just couldn’t believe so many people would get involved in making something as beautiful as that."

When he was just 21-years-old, the Korean War broke out, and he was shipped off to serve overseas with the Canadian military. He’s proud of his service; still, he says, his return home could be difficult.

"In those days it was hard to recognize that we were ever there," Colborne tells CTV News Ottawa.

He said the quilts are a wonderful gift.

"It’s quite a creation for sure. And the fact that it came from all over Canada," he explains. "I appreciate that."

Quilts of Valour representative Donna Easter tells CTV News Ottawa, the quilts have been sewn block-by-block by volunteers from across Canada. 

"One of them could have squares in them ranging from British Columbia to Nova Scotia," she says.

In all, 30 blocks are then sewn together, and the receiver's name is stitched inside.

"When we present a quilt, we wrap the quilt around the shoulders of the vet, of that military member, and it’s symbolic of a hug from a grateful nation."

In total, more than 15,000 quilts have been given out across the country since 2006, says Easter.

The group of says the work is touching.

Paul Dugas, who spent 30 years with the Royal Canadian Navy, said his quilt featured blocks that honoured his travel around the world.

"I’m totally in awe of it," explained Paul Dugas.

Robert Adams, 91, says he loves that his highlights cities and towns in Alberta, where he served.

"I am humbled by the effort that so many ladies have put into making these quilts here."

While others, like Edward Buckner, made plans to keep his close by.

"I’m going to wear this every night," he says.

For Colborne, he says the act has made him feel connected to his country. 

"I’ll keep it forever that’s for sure," he laughs.