A Beatrice student has been named one of the top two youth volunteers in the state for her work creating quilts for area veterans.
Jetta Harvey, 16, is a sophomore at Harvey Academy for Higher Learning. She received the Prudential Spirit of Community Award for leading 30 students from her 4-H club and 10 others from a local middle school as the groups put together quilts to honor veterans in the community.
“I love to quilt,” Harvey said. “I also love my country and am very grateful for the veterans who sacrifice to keep me safe.”
The award includes a $1,000 prize, an engraved medallion and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington D.C., where she will join another Nebraska winner, 10-year-old Kadynce Mullins of Nebraska City, as well as the top two honorees from each state and the District of Columbia.
After learning that she was selected as a winner, Harvey said she was “elated.” She applied for the award in October, she said, but had nearly forgotten about it until she received a letter in the mail last week saying that she had won.
Now, Harvey is looking forward to her trip to Washington D.C. From April 28 through May 1, Harvey will join fellow Prudential Spirit of Community Award winners as they attend a series recognition events and sightseeing activities throughout the capital. Of all the events planned, Harvey said she is most excited to go to the Smithsonian.
Harvey was inspired to start making quilts for veterans several years ago, when a fellow 4-H member began sewing Quilts of Valor.
“It really struck me how much time and energy she put into these quilts,” Harvey said.
Harvey began learning to sew years ago, and with the help of her mother, she constructed a quilt for a fellow 4-H member's father who had served aboard a submarine off the coast of North Korea for five years.
She enjoyed sewing the quilt so much that she decided to continue making them, and eventually began teaching others to quilt. In all, Harvey has helped make five quilts for veterans in her community, and has taught more than 40 others to sew and make quilts.
“I love passing on the skills that I know, and to help younger 4-Hers,” Harvey said. “It was so rewarding to watch them gain confidence.”