Quilt Guild honors local military family for service

Published 7:01 pm Saturday, November 10, 2018

On Saturday, father, mother and daughter were all honored for their service to country.

Bump Callaway, Laura Callaway and Jessica Callaway were presented with red, white and blue designed quilts from the Vicksburg Quilt Guild at the Vicksburg Senior Center.

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“Receiving a quilt from the Vicksburg Quilt Guild is an honor,” Jessica Callaway said. “We (service members) go through our day to day doing what we do, not asking for anything in return, so to be thought of like this is very humbling.”

Laura Callaway echoed her daughter’s sentiments.

“I am very humbled by their (Vicksburg Quilt Guild) recognition, given my family’s military background. I consider serving my country as just part of my duty,” Laura Callaway said.

Bump Callaway, who served with the Army’s 412th Engineer Command, said he too was honored by this recognition.

“This is a humbling honor that someone would recognize me as having deployed or as having served for 39 years in the military. This honor is just hard to put into words and when people say thank you for your service … I was just proud to have done my duty to the country,” Bump Callaway said.

Guild honors vets

For several years now the Vicksburg Quilt Guild has been honoring veterans, group member Barbara Cashman said.

“We heard of a national group, which was making quilts like this for veterans and became interested in doing the same about five or 10 years ago,” Cashman said. 

“The project was called Quilts of Valor, and they wanted us to send our quilts to them and they would distribute them to veterans, but we wanted to keep our efforts locally.”

And for the first time ever, since distributing quilts to local veterans, the Vicksburg Quilt Guild had the opportunity to honor a family.

Jessica Callaway, a Human resources Specialist with the Mississippi National Guard, was deployed with the 1108th Theater Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group (TASMG) out of Gulfport to Kuwait with duties in Iraq, Dec 2017 to Aug 2018.

As a mother of two young sons, Jessica Callaway said, serving her country is just part of her heritage.

“Being in the military is a long standing family tradition on all sides,” Jessica Calloway said. “When I was 18, my mom kept asking me when I was going to join. When I finally did decide to join, four years later, my daddy wanted to make sure I would always be close to home. I think I satisfied both by joining the Mississippi National Guard. I decided to join not only because I saw it as a sense of duty, but I also wanted to be part of something bigger and make a difference.

“My oldest son, Parker, was a year old when I joined in 2007. Ensuring he had a future was a huge deciding factor,” she added. “Three years into it, my son Matthew was born. I could have gotten out after my first six year commitment, but here I am on year 11 and I’m about to sign up for another six years. This isn’t something I take lightly.”

Jessica Callaway said she is committed to serving in the military.

“There are many times I have thought of ending my service time but the reasons to stay far outweigh the ones to leave. I’m going to keep extending for six years at a time until they tell me to go home,” she said. “I hope that my children follow in my footsteps and continue the tradition.”

Reasons for serving

Laura Callaway said she joined the military as a way to pay for school.

“I honestly just needed money for school and tried out the ROTC program and was offered a two year scholarship to USM,” Laura Callaway said.

While serving in the 412th Engineer Command for six years (1985-1991), Laura Callaway said she was never deployed overseas, but after ending her reserve time in 2002, she decided to volunteer for a civilian deployment with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

“In 2004, my office was actively recruiting for personnel to support Operation Iraqi Freedom.  I served from May 2005 to August 2007 in Baghdad with the Gulf Region Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” Laura Callaway said.

“My assignment was as the G-6, Information Management Chief.  My job was to ensure communication and automation support was up and running so the engineers, project managers, and support staff could do their jobs.  We were scheduled to work 65 hours a week, but normally worked many more,” Laura Callaway said.

“I lived in a half of a 40-foot conex van, ate in a dining facility and worked out at a gym and pool that had been one of Saddam Hussein son’s properties. That assignment was one of the best and most fulfilling jobs I have ever had. I felt I was making a difference in the lives of the Iraqi people we were there to help. During my deployment, the 412th Engineer Command was assigned to support GRD, so I worked with a number of familiar faces from Vicksburg,” she said.

Career military man

As a retired Sgt. Maj., Bump Callaway said, he joined the Army Reserves in June of 1968 and served until 2007.

“I was deployed once to Bosnia with the 412th Engineer Command who spent a year at Taszar Air Force base in Hungary. We were the engineer element for the forward element of the U.S. Army Europe during operation Joint Endeavor,” Bump Callaway said.

The former Vicksburg coroner said he also traveled multiple times to Europe and Central and South America and Hawaii with different unit projects with the 412th Engineer Command.

Each quilt that was presented to the Callaways took between 30 to 50 hours to construct by the 12 to 15-member group, guild member Marilyn Daggett said.

Also, fabric for the Veterans projects is either purchased by the Vicksburg Quilt Guild or donated to the group.

“The local community has been very supportive or our efforts, Cashman said.

The Vicksburg Quilt Guild was formed more than 30 years ago and meets every second Saturday of the month.

In addition to making quilts for veterans, the guild has also made quilts for the children’s shelter and the Warrior Bonfire Project.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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