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Kearney man helps others one stitch at a time
You do not see many men who love to quilt, but there is one in Kearney who does. And his quilting has touched many lives along the way. NEWS 5's Dennis Kellogg has his story as we spend "A Day in the Heartland."
Willis Holscher is a retired farmer who stopped sowing seeds in the ground and just started sewing.
"Alice was going to church making quilts. I was wondering if I could do it. That is how I got started on it," said Holscher.
At age 84, many men his age are on the golf course. That is not where Willis wants to spend his time.
"I do not care about golf. I cannot see chasing a golf ball around," Holscher said.
He had done woodworking for years, but when his knees started bothering him about a decade ago, he decided to spend his time working on quilts. Why quilts?
"Something to do. I have got to have something to do or I would go [crazy]," said Holscher.
This is not something Willis just does for a few hours a week either. He works most days of the week – and many hours each day.
"Seven to eight hours a day. Might include Sunday, too," said Holscher.
He works on a sewing machine he bought at an auction 6 years ago for $12. He has gotten his money's worth.
Since starting his sewing adventure, Willis has made more than 2,000 quilts. He averages about one every couple of days. But you will not find them around his home. That is because he gives his quilts away. Almost every one. They go to children and adults suffering from cancer or who are the victims of domestic abuse. If someone is going through a difficult time Willis is ready to make them a quilt.
"If they are sick or something I would," said Holscher.
The only thing Willis gets for any of the quilts he makes is an occasional thank you letter. There was the woman who loved his quilts so much, when she died, she wanted to be buried with it. And she was. Then there was a woman who did not speak any English. She had a hard time comprehending how anyone could make something so nice just for her.
From smiley faces to trains to dogs Willis often uses donated materials to make his quilts.
"One person brought me all that. And that is about a fourth gone already," said Holscher.
Willis sews the tops of the quilts, then someone else finishes them and delivers them to hospitals, schools and families across Nebraska. He could easily sell his handiwork and make money, but that is not why he spends so many hours and days making these quilts. He just enjoys helping others. And he really likes to sew. And he is getting better.
"Better than when I started out, put it that way," said Holscher.
Willis Holscher is making a difference one stitch at a time.
Willis said he is not picky about the type or color of material he uses. He can make just about anything into a design that works.
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