Eric's Heroes: The small army of ladies warming hearts, one quilt at a time

Twice a year, the Material Girls head to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with quilts for children who've been burned or traumatized. (KOMO News)

SEATTLE -- Harborview Medical Center in Seattle is the only Level 1 trauma center in the region, and serious business happens here.

On one morning, a van pulls up to the hospital and a bunch of ladies pile out. Each drags a rolling suitcase out of the back, and like a little army, all seven of them make their way toward the entrance and go inside.

Down through the hallways they march, still pulling the suitcases, walking with a purpose. Nobody questions them and nobody gets in their way. They wouldn't dare.

They head into the elevators and up to the 9th floor, and then they burst into the Pediatric Trauma and Burn Unit like they own the place.

The ladies meet once a month at Calico Creations in Mount Vernon. There are more than 30 of them..and they are the Material Girls.

They use scissors, and make cutting remarks. They sketch and plan...they pin their hopes on little patches of cloth.

And all of them are left in stitches.

Pat Thompson plays a vintage sewing machine like it's a Stradivarius.

"It was made in July 1946..and so was I," she said.

The quilt is such a personal thing, made by hand with imagination and artistry.

Geri Parker started her quilting army in 1995...she donated one quilt to Harborview.

"There are no rules, just come and enjoy," Parker said.

Since then, the group has created and donated more than 1,300 of their creations.

Suzanne Lockridge knows that quilts can offer more than one kind of warmth.

"The very first quilt I made for my cousin who was deathly ill...and I found out he died under my quilt that I made for him...and his son has the quilt now," Lockridge said.

When they are finished, dazzled and bright, the quilts are pinned to the wall for all to see with their elephants and astronauts and ladybugs, chickens and sheep.

And then twice a year, the quilting army marches to Seattle. Now you know why they walk with such purpose. It's pride...and love.

The Material Girls upload their suitcases and the colors and the beauty spills out. Their handiwork is piled up on the desk with 81 quilts for children who've been burned or traumatized.

"It's so exciting. We're so blessed to have them come and deliver to the pediatric patients and the pediatric ICU," nurse manager Melvin Tam said.

And after they are done, the ladies take their suitcases and they head for home. And once again, the quilts have done what they're supposed to do: they've made warm feelings in good people.

Editor's Note: "Eric's Heroes" is a weekly series airing every Wednesday on KOMO News in the 6 p.m. newscast. If you have a good story about a good person doing good things for the right reasons, share it with Eric by sending an email to

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