Arts and Entertainment

Quilt benefit abuzz for Seabees

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The meaning of Alanna Levesque's quilt is deeper than its thickness.

Its custom patches, intricate stitching and 100s of fabric pieces honor the legacy of military Seabee construction workers, including her husband, Jerry, who served in the U.S. Navy's construction battalion.

As a Seabee for three of his four Navy years, in the MCB5 unit, Jerry was a heavy equipment operator during the Vietnam War.

He supported Marine troops by building roads, bridges and buildings in and around Da Nang, Vietnam.

The couple of nearly 44 years and former owners of Sequim Auto Sales married six weeks before his second tour in Vietnam.

Stitching for help

The quilt idea came from Jerry, who went to an East Coast Seabee reunion in February.

He wanted to auction a quilt to help struggling Seabee veterans with medical and general expenses.

"The Seabees are like a brotherhood," Jerry said.

He keeps in touch with a handful of fellow Seabees by phone and owes a lot to Veterans Affairs for helping him in times of medical need.

With their support, he survived a five-way open-heart bypass in October 2005, kidney cancer removal in 2008 and a shoulder replacement six months ago.

High quality quilting

The quilt was made in the Levesque's converted basement, where Alanna works on her many hobbies including stained glass, beading and especially quilting.

She received a long-arm quilting machine from Jerry recently and the Seabee quilt was her first project on it.

"I didn't just jump in doing this," Levesque said.

"It's years and years of experience."

Levesque shied away from calling the project "work" and was hesitant to call it a "labor of love" because she wants people to know she was glad to make it and had a lot of fun.

It took three weeks to piece together and 40 hours to stitch.

"She always goes for the easy ones," Jerry said.

The quilt is about 80 inches wide by 98 inches tall.

Seabee benefit

Jerry is a seasoned auctioneer and plans to visit a Seabee West Coast reunion June 27-28 in Port Hueneme, Calif., where he will auction the quilt.

The Levesques said they weren't sure how much it would go for.

"I know I'll bid $500 for it," Jerry said.

Reach Matthew Nash at

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