Six of the original 10 members of the Piney River Quilt Guild gather during an event celebrating the group's 20th anniversary last Thursday in the fellowship hall at the Houston United Methodist Church. From left, Arlene Williamson, Gail DeMoss, Kim Bailey, Beverly Flowers, Pat Rice and Mary Ellen Gentry.

About 20 years ago, 10 ladies from the surrounding area organized the first meeting of Houston’s Piney River Quilt Guild.

For the first two months, the fledgling organization met in the Loretto House on U.S. 63, but when membership quickly increased to more than 20, meetings were held in the fellowship hall at the Houston United Methodist Church. Charter members included Kim Bailey, Gail DeMoss, Beverly Flowers, Jean Freeze, Mary Ellen Gentry, Mary Joens, Pat Rice, Barbara Sargent, Sondra Snyder and Arlene Williamson.

Guild members gathered last Thursday to celebrate the group’s 20th anniversary, with a display of charity items members have sewn during the two-decade run. Items constructed and delivered include cuddle quilts for the Division of Family Services, soldier quilts for veterans and wounded active duty military personnel, pillow cases for children’s wards at Mercy and Cox hospitals, twin to full-size quilts for Plato’s Angels Home Center to give to house fire victims, twin quilts for Shriners Hospitals for Children, twin quilts for On Time Ministries, baby quilts for Texas County Memorial Hospital, eyeglass cases for the TCMH surgery department, small pillow for TCMH surgery patients, baby blankets and quilts for the Pregnancy Resource Center of South Central Missouri, mini quilts and teddy bears for charities and pet beds for area animal shelters.

Today the Guild has 45 members who hail from numerous area communities, including Houston, Cabool, Licking, Raymondville, Bucyrus, Solo, Plato, Elk Creek, Willow Springs, Mountain Grove and Beulah. Meetings consist of teaching time (so members can learn new techniques and patterns), a short discussion of business and show and tell.

In the past, the guild has hosted quilt shows, and members regularly participate in shop hops and classes offered nearby.

The Piney River Quilt Guild meets at 1 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the Houston United Methodist Church (422 Hawthorne Street). New members are always welcome.

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