FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — March is International Women’s Month. In celebration, we’re honoring local women who create change and inspire us all. We received over 20 nominations for Nexstar’s nationwide 2020 Woman of the Year Award.
Our third finalist, Laura Speer, was nominated for always putting others first.
Carefully selected patterns, thread in just about every color and a devoted heart.
“When I graduated high school she made me a quilt, when I graduated college she made me a quilt, when I got married-quilt, babies- quilts. Quilt, quilt, quilt,” says Missy Gipson, who nominated Laura.
It’s a pattern that began in 1974 for this retired military wife.
“Sew each one separately and then put them together,” Speer says.
Laura Speer’s passion for quilting was the only constant throughout the family’s 20-plus moves.
“It’s a little love letter in fabric that you can keep forever,” Gipson says.
Love letters to not only her two daughters but her community.
“Some people call it a hobby, some people call it a craft, some people call it an art, to me it’s not something I cannot do,” Speer says.
Speer is the president of Quilt Northwest Arkansas and with each stitch, she focuses on reaching the core of humanity.
“We actually have had requests from families that wanted quilts to put over the caskets of soldiers,” Speer says.
Her quilts also covering patients at local hospitals.
“You don’t have anything that’s yours. So what we try to do is give them something bright and happy for them to have,” Speer says.
Speer’s empathy has also impacted hundreds of people throughout the years. Supporting her husband’s military career, she worked different jobs as a musician, teacher, and librarian, adding to the many chapters of people’s lives
“You find out lots of beautiful things, lots of sad things, help homeless people look for a place to live,” Speer says.
Speer’s kindheartedness makes her a remarkable woman.
“How many lives she’s touched? Who knows. But for the good for sure,” Gipson says.