Ruth McDermott… A Labor of Love

Janice Pell

The Women of Quail Creek recognizes that our community is blessed by many dedicated volunteers that offer their services in many ways. Perhaps the epitome of those volunteers is Ruth McDermott. Ruth has contributed much to Quail Creek over the years, even starting the very first activities club in February 1999. She is a lady with many passions and when she talks about them her enthusiasm is infectious. If Ruth takes on a cause she gives it her all.

When she became aware of the Honor Flight program’s mission to send WWII veterans to Washington DC, it struck a chord in her heart. Heeding the call encouraging people to write notes thanking individual veterans for their service to the country, she started penning handwritten notes to every single veteran on every Honor Flight leaving from Tucson—she hasn’t stopped since. “They risked their lives for me. How better could I acknowledge and thank them and let them know they are not forgotten.” Then she started writing thank you notes to the guardians that accompany each of the veterans because, “they provide care and selflessly cover their own expenses.” Now she pens notes to the airline captains and crew as well, thanking them for making the adventure safe and “safeguarding these precious national treasures.” One Captain was so moved he read Ruth’s card over the speaker system to all the passengers on the plane.

Deep-seated unwavering patriotism runs in Ruth’s family. Her great-grandmother earned the nickname “0ld Glory” during WWI, meeting troop trains to show support to the soldiers. Her father was in the Navy during that war to end all wars, serving off the coast of France. Her beloved husband Donn was an Army Corporal in the Korean War. The granite stone at the base of the flagpole in front of the clubhouse was placed there in his memory and honors all veterans’ devotion and support for their country. Donn’s oversized commemorative American flag was donated to Quail Creek and often flies on “special occasions, such as the fourth of July.”

Each note Ruth writes is a labor of love. The note cards are embellished with a depiction of the American flag. She places flag stickers on the envelopes and, when the names of veterans on a flight become available, addresses each note to a specific individual. That way the message of appreciation and gratitude is more personal. Because of her efforts, Ruth was recently presented with the official commemorative coin honoring Southern Arizona Honor Flight veterans. She was “overwhelmed by the gift and will treasure it forever.”

In addition to writing notes, Ruth expresses her patriotism by knitting hats and scarfs for the TWOQC homeless veterans’ campaign. She also contributes numerous knitted baby hats, bootees and blankets as well as other baby items to be used for gifts and prizes at TWOQC‘s annual baby shower for expectant mothers of serving military families.

WWll and Korean War veterans on the Honor Flight in October received 231 letters from the Quail Creek community. TWOQC thanks Ruth and all those that took time to write.