Veterans honored with Quilts of Valor by Peaks ‘n Pines

Veteran Mark Custer with his handmade quilt. The veterans are always wrapped in their quilts when they receive them during the Quilts of Valor ceremony.
Jenny Dems/Courtesy Photo

There are 1,182 veterans living in Grand County, and over the past three years, members of the Peaks ‘n Pines Quilt Guild have honored many of them by making and gifting them Quilts of Valor.

This Veterans Day, Nov. 11, the guild honored four Grand County residents who have served by awarding them handmade quilts in bright blue, red and white. In the morning, Keith Cooper and Richard Olivo received their quilts during a ceremony at Snow Mountain Ranch. Both Cooper and Olivo, a former lieutenant, served in the U.S. Army.  

“Quilts of Valor is a national organization … to comfort and cover veterans,” said Peaks ‘n Pines member Susan Nixon, who makes Quilts of Valor. “The quilt says, unequivocally, thank you for your service and sacrifice in serving our nation. Not everyone answers the call to serve our country. It is those rare individuals who are selfless enough to make the sacrifice so that others may enjoy freedom.”

Then in the afternoon, Peaks ‘n Pines members presented Mark Custer and Russell Knight with their quilts during the Cozens Ranch Museum’s ceremony. Custer served in the U.S. Air Force from 1976-1980 in Great Falls, Montana, at Malmstrom Air Force Base. Knight served in the U.S. Army from 1975-1977 and was stationed in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. Several other Quilts of Valor also will be on display at Cozens Ranch’s gallery space during the month of November.

Peaks ‘n Pines honored one more veteran, Christopher Tagseth, on Thursday, Nov. 10, the day before Veterans Day. Tagseth, who was an active duty marine from 2002-2006, chose this day to receive his quilt for a reason: it was the 247th birthday of the Marine Corps, which was formed during the American Revolutionary War.

Tagseth received his quilt during the Peaks ‘n Pines guild meeting at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church.

Marine Chris Tagseth is seen with his quilt.
Jenny Dems/Courtesy Photo

Jenny Dems, Peaks ‘n Pines president, said that the Quilts of Valor program started in 2003, and its members have handed out over 300,000 quilts nationally. Peaks ‘n Pines became involved with the program in 2019. Since then, they have awarded over 80 quilts to Grand County veterans and their families.

Although Veterans Day is over, Peaks ‘n Pines will continue creating and awarding quilts throughout the year to those who have fought for the country.

Dems added that if anyone would like to nominate a Grand County veteran to receive a Quilt of Valor, they can email Peaks ‘n Pines at to receive an application.

About Peaks ‘n Pines Quilt Guild

The guild is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the art of quilting that emphasizes educational programs, community-building and supporting local families through homemade quilts. Peaks ‘n Pines provides quilts to the Mountain Family Center for its yearly holiday program, plus their Vroom program for new mothers. Their mission is “to promote and perpetuate the art of quilting for all age groups.” Peaks ‘n Pines was started in 2010 by three Grand County quilters and gained official nonprofit status in 2012.


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

The Sky-Hi News strives to deliver powerful stories that spark emotion and focus on the place we live.

Over the past year, contributions from readers like you helped to fund some of our most important reporting, including coverage of the East Troublesome Fire.

If you value local journalism, consider making a contribution to our newsroom in support of the work we do.