Mr. Randal Powers, Region Legal Service Office (RLSO) Mid-Atlantic Branch Office Newport, is an expert quilter and has dedicated numerous hours to making quilts for ill children. Starting when he was about 10 years old, Powers helped his mom quilt to pay the bills.
"Quilting is like my therapy," he said. The birth of his grandson drew his attention to the children and babies, who couldn't go home from the hospital. "My heart was just there for the kids," he said. "I have no explanation why. I just wanted to help the kids."
Since then, Powers has spent hours on each creation before they're given to children at Hasbro Children's Hospital to help them feel more at home. Over the years, Powers has heard from some of the families who received his quilts. "They tell me, their children were in intensive care," Powers said. "Their children were terminally ill...and some made it, and some didn't. But they're very grateful."
Powers is grateful his "therapy" puts a smile on the faces of children who need it while also bringing him back to the days when he helped his mother quilt to keep a roof over his family and food in everyone's belly. The positive words from strangers who faced a terribly trying time with their little ones motivates him to keep quilting. "It gives me a good warm feeling to know it helped somebody," he said. Powers also demonstrates a genuine interest in each client who walks through the door of the RLSO. Last year, Powers worked closely with the legal assistant attorney to successfully recoup over $11,000 in back pay and $1,300 in monthly benefits for a retired servicemember's widow. "Mr. Powers is the sole civilian employee holding down the Legal Assistance Office in Newport," said Capt. Lawrence D. Hill, Jr., former commanding officer of RLSO Mid-Atlantic. "Mr. Powers brings years of naval experience to his job, having served 23 years on active duty. He selflessly assists Sailors, dependents, and retirees who need civil legal services, including countless sailors who are deploying. A model citizen and a critical part of my command, Mr. Powers is a blessing to all who he helps!"