By: Sarah Whitesel, ORMC Graduate Assistant
Visitors to the ELI’s 318 South College office might notice that the walls are a little more beautiful this session, as a quilt was recently hung in honor of former ELI tutor, Patrick Ruffin.
Ruffin, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, was a tutor in the ELI’s Intensive English Program for more than 15 years. Unfortunately, Ruffin passed away in May, but he is well remembered by his friends, including tutors Nancy Blevins and Melora Davis, who decided to commemorate Ruffin with the quilt that is now on display in the ELI.
Blevins explained that the quilt, which she created from the materials that Davis donated, is a way to honor the memory of Ruffin. The quilt was hung one day before Ruffin’s birthday and two days after Veteran’s Day, which is a U.S. holiday that honors those who have served in the military. However, it is not only the timing of when the quilt was hung that honors Ruffin. Blevins also thinks Ruffin would have been pleased by the quilt’s future destination, as it will later be sent to Quilts of Valor, which is a foundation that gives quilts to “cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.”
As Blevins explained, “It helped me grieve as I worked on this memorial to my friend and co-worker, Patrick. I know he would approve of a project that is donated to a wounded soldier, as he was also a war veteran.”
Blevins explained that Ruffin was known for his supportive, kind personality. “He was incredibly focused on his students, and made them laugh with his silly puns,” she said. “It was obvious to me that he loved what he did.”
Additionally, Ruffin also recognized the importance of honor and respect. Blevins said that each Memorial Day, a U.S. holiday that honors those who died while serving in the U.S. military, Ruffin would talk with the students about the word “decorate,” which means to receive military honors.
“I will miss Patrick every day,” Blevins closed. “I am so honored to have known him.”