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Quilted American flag at Ladybug Quilts to help raise funds for injured Manteca soldier
Sherry Staples, left, and Sandra Newcomb stand in front of the patriotic American flag quilt that they made to help raise money for Manteca soldier Nicholas Cargill who was seriously injured New Years Day when his car was hit by a drunken driver. Staples is the owner of Ladybug Quilts in Manteca. Newcomb designed the quilt which was pieced together by Jennifer DeLong. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

The quilted American flag occupying one entire wall at Ladybug Quilts in Manteca is not just a store decoration.

It is there to remind visitors that a Manteca soldier is still at Doctors Medical Center being treated for life-threatening injuries he sustained on New Year’s Day when he was hit by a drunken driver at the intersection of Airport Way and Woodward Avenue. The Army soldier and Sierra High School graduate had been home on a two-week leave after serving two tours in Iraq. He was getting ready to leave for Afghanistan after a scheduled training at Fort Irwin when the accident happened. His car was broadsided by a pickup truck driven by a 24-year-old Manteca man who was reportedly driving under the influence.

Newcomb and DeLong decided to do this project as a way to “try to help (Cargill) out. He’s going to need a lot of rehabilitation,” which will entail “a lot of traveling back and forth” requiring gas and other related expenses during his recuperation, Newcomb said. DeLong is a neighbor of the Cargill family.

All proceeds will go to the Manteca soldier to help him with expenses not covered by insurance, added Newcomb.

To take part in the fund-raiser, stop by Ladybug Quilts where tickets are being sold for $1 apiece, or six for $5. The store is open Sunday and Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Drawing for the “opportunity quilt” will be held on Feb. 28.

Newcomb said some of the ticket buyers have indicated that they will donate the 60”x96” quilt to the soldier if they ended up being the lucky winner. Others have said they will donate it to another fund-raiser.

The quilt was designed by Newcomb; the batting and the actual quilting or piecing together the materials was provided by DeLong. Both Newcomb and DeLong are members of the Manteca Quilters Guild.

A Go Fund account online was opened to assist the Army soldier’s recovery from his injuries. A $5,000 donation made by Manteca Ford owner Phil Waterford, in conjunction with Place of Refuge allowed the fund-raising effort to reach the $10,000 goal. Cargill will receive neurological care and other treatment from the Army; the funds raised are designed to help with expenses that won’t be covered by the military.