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Labor of love - a mother's love

Ginger Nohl, left, recently presented her daughter, Randee, with a quilt she made for her. The quilt features police badges from various departments around the state and country. Randee is an officer in Brown County.

A mother's love can be felt in many ways. A warm embrace, showers of kisses, a listening ear and even well-deserved criticism or discipline.

A mother's love can also be shown through the things she does or makes for her children. It could be in a delicious meal, generous gifts, fresh garden produce, hand-made clothing or, in the case of one Hancock woman, a unique and beautiful quilt.

Ginger Nohl of Hancock shared her talent for sewing through a rare gift for her daughter Randee. Randee had graduated from Hancock High School and entered the Law Enforcement Program at Alexandria Tech in 2002. During her years of training and subsequent years on the job, Ginger was busy with a job of her own. Not just working at the University of Minnesota, Morris or as a farm wife, but in acquiring and assembling patches for a quilt she hoped to make for Randee.

Along with these jobs she was also a waitress at the Owls Nest in Hancock, where she worked with Thelma Wilson of Hancock. Thelma told her about a quilt she was making for her son that had patches from different police departments across the state.

Ginger began to think that this would be a gift she could make for Randee. She began to talk to people who might be able to get her patches and collected the first patch from a friend of Randee's, Adam Wiederhoeft. Adam's father was the Chief of Police in Winnebago. The patch has a very interesting shape.

Ginger talked to Randee about the quilt. She asked Randee about ways to collect the patches and Randee gave her mother some to start off with.

Ginger also carefully removed the patches from Randee's Alexandria Technical College shirt to add one more to the collection. In May 2004 Randee got her first job at the Mall of America. Ginger was later able to remove a patch from an old shirt from that job.

In April 2005 Randee was hired by the Sleepy Eye Police Department. After she had been there for some time, she picked up a patch for her mother's collection. Ginger then spoke to a friend, Ron Harmson, who works in the Stevens County Dispatch Office and was able to get her several patches. She was also able to get some local patches from Hancock Police, UMM Security and Morris Police.

Ginger decided to go one step farther and check out the Internet for police patches. She was able to put in a bid for a patch from the NYPD for the 9/11 disaster. She found out the next week that she had won the bid for $2.99.

At this point, Ginger decided to start getting a few more patches so she could put the quilt together. Over the next few months she sent out letters to police and sheriff's departments within the state and to other communities or states that had meaning to Randee.

For example, on her 21st birthday, Randee and Ginger went to Las Vegas so Ginger wrote the LVPD to get a patch. She also received a patch from Roy City, Utah, significant for Randee's father, Roy. Ginger requested and received a patch from the St. Louis Park Police Department where David Day had served as an officer prior to serving in Iraq, where he lost his life.

The response was overwhelming with many returning patches along with very supportive letters. Some of the patches were used patches, which Ginger felt was even more meaningful.

Having accumulated well over 100 patches Ginger began appliqueing them to quilt blocks. She selected the police colors of light and dark blue for the blocks. She added a U. S. Flag at the top. Any leftover patches and all the letters were later assembled into a scrapbook that would accompany the quilt.

In June 2009 Ginger completed the assembly of the quilt blocks and delivered the quilt top to The Quilting Room in Morris. Sheila Swanson then did the quilting to complete the project.

The result was a beautiful keepsake full of special meaning and memories. It was a true labor of love and cherished gift from a mother to her daughter.

The story did not end after Randee received her gift. Friends encouraged Ginger to enter the quilt at the 2008 Stevens County Fair where she was awarded a Best of Show Ribbon.

With the quilt now back safely with Randee at her home in New Ulm, it is a constant reminder of the dedicated service of police officers around the country and of the places Randee has been to, seen or heard of. Most of all the quilt is a reminder of a mother's love and will always be a precious gift from mother to daughter.

Randee is thrilled with the gift from her mother. "Through years of hard work my mom has created a beautiful quilt, that all law enforcement officers would be proud of." Randee stated, "Thank you mom for the support, the love and the way you honor myself and my partners all over the country through your beautiful quilt. I Love you Mom, Happy Mother's Day."