Our Quilter Extraordinaire
Oklahoma Angels 1995
in Memory of Ryan Luke
The Oklahoma Angels 1995 Quilt has been more than 10 years in the making. It was made in memory of 2-year old Ryan Luke of McAlester. He was hospitalized in January of 1995 with a broken leg and placed in a body cast. Authorities supected abuse. Ryan was released to a family member who returned him to an abusive home where his mother and her boyfriend lived...and 2 months later, Ryan was dead. His cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. Ryan's mother was later convicted in the case and her boyfriend was found not guilty at trial.
The year Ryan died there were 35 other children who died from abuse in fiscal year 1994-95, at the time one of the highest ever. In 2004, I began volunteering at the Turley Correctional Center and that's when I first had an idea to make a quilt in memory of Ryan because for some reason his story of abuse has always bothered me. The quilt never quite worked out until this year which happens to be the 20th anniversary of Ryan's death.
Our goal for the quilt is two fold....to bring awareness to child abuse and neglect in Oklahoma which crosses all racial and socio-economic boundaries. In fact, research has shown many of the individuals who are incarcerated were themselves abused as children. It is for that reason that our secondary goal of the Oklahoma Angels quilt is to encourage inmates to become better parents by consistently communicating with their children through letter writing. Studies show children generally do much better emotionally and academically when there is written communication with an incarcerated parent.
The Oklahoma Angels 1995 Quilt will officially debut and be on display in McAlester on December 28th on what would have been Ryan's 23rd birthday.
Other display dates for the quilt will be at the Oklahoma Quilt Show in OKC January 7-9, 2016, at Langston University - Tulsa in February and the John Hope Reconciliation Symposium in May.
"God has use of that which appears to have little or no value"