HOPEDALE – Dirk Harkins, pictured, has spearheaded the Quilts for Heroes campaign throughout the Ohio Valley at many road races and events, collecting donations of t-shirts from runners and the general public along the way in order to have quilts made for injured soldiers and veterans. The group’s first quilt had just been completed and was on display for those in attendance to view and sign during the Purple Heart Palace grand opening. “We just found out this week who we would be giving our first quilt to, and he is an amazing man who is overcoming some major obstacles,” Harkins added.

U.S. Marine Infantryman Nicholas Thom lost both of his legs in April 2010, while fighting the war on terror. Thom is a friend and fellow soldier of Purple Heart Palace organizer Chip Snyder’s son. On October 30, Thom has pledged to walk 6.2 miles in his prosthetics, while carrying a weighted pack. The weight of the pack depends on the donations that he has collected. Harkins felt that Thom was the perfect soldier to receive the first quilt from the Quilts for Heroes Campaign, and was thrilled at all of the signatures that are now covering the one- of-a-kind token of appreciation.

More information on the Quilts for Heros Campaign and the Purple Heart Palace grand opening is featured in this weeks print edition of the Harrison News-Herald.