From hobby to passion, woman weaves a patchwork of kindness for local heroes

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Posted at 8:37 PM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-17 07:46:48-04

WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WTVF) — For the last five months, Linda Salerno has been searching for heroes in our community. She found one while watching our story earlier in the week of a veteran who put his life on the line overseas.

Salerno says she was deeply moved by Ethan LeBerge’s story and his will to survive after a suicide bomber attacked his platoon in Afghanistan.

“He’s lucky to be alive, but he’s in Afghanistan fighting for me to make sure the country I live in is safe. So it inspired me to do something for him to say thank you for your service,” Salerno said.

In the workspace of her home, Salerno has at least five sewing machines she operates for Token of Appreciation Quilts. Between her and her husband, it’s a two-person non-profit. As an artist to her canvas, every patchwork is carefully thought out. It’s been that way for 25 years, but in the last five months, she’s weaved from hobby to passion.

At Vanderbilt University Medical Center Wilson County, she donated 40 handmade quilts to the ICU nurses. It took her four months to complete, each quilt different from the last.

“It was heartwarming for me to see the smiles on their faces when someone says thank you and appreciates what they do every day,” Salerno said.

Salerno has been sewing quilts for 25 years and recalls getting her first sewing machine from her husband Doug at the Wilson County Fair. At the time Linda was still mourning the loss of her father.

“He bought the machine to make me feel better. It worked,” Salerno said.

Since then, she’s continued to find peace in her work. The peace she credits to not only the machines but the people who help keep this country safe. The real heroes.

The fact is and I’m sure she’ll hate reading this, but this is what being a hero is all about. Salerno never asked for anyone to stop by and tell her story. She was far more interested in finding out how to get the quilt to Ethan once she finished. Heroes often do more for others than they ever expect in return. They don’t seek out attention and that’s what makes them special. That they do what they can when nothing is expected of them. Bringing joy to others, when they need it most.

If you know of a hero who could use a quilt, contact us at: