By Sarah Elisabeth Sawyer
A Series Highlighting Our Wonderful Volunteers
From the early days of Reba’s Ranch House, the heart of volunteers beat throughout the space to bring peace and comfort to all the guests who walk through the door.
This series is our chance to publicly thank our precious volunteers who consistently show up and provide for the many needs we have. The ranch house operates like any home — laundry, meals, cleaning, bedding, prayers.
We couldn’t exist without our dedicated volunteers. Thank you!
When guests come to Reba’s Ranch House, it’s because they are experiencing a crippling crisis, something that pulls them almost to the floor.
But instead, they have a place to rest. Opportunities to talk with someone and pray. Handmade quilts to draw over them like a grandmother’s hug.
In 1990, before Reba’s Ranch House officially opened, local ladies worked through the Grayson County Extension Office to take on a tremendous project — crafting twenty handmade quilts for the bedrooms where guests at the house stay.
It started when Jerri Lane, Grayson County Extension Agent, was asked to gather a small troop of ladies to dedicate two years to design and make the quilts. Jerri was an agent at the extension office for over thirty years.
With several ladies on the project, they started at a quilt shop in Denton to choose colors and decide on patterns. On that first trip, they bought $1,000 worth of fabric. The volunteers consisted of Anne Gary, Jeanie Graber, Jerri Lane, Jana Caroyl, and co-chairman Gerry Dougherty.
Gerry fondly recalls the adventure. “We had a plan, a full committee, designs for each quilt, and a start. Two of the ladies taught us the new name for a certain red — the Reba Red. It was more of a barn red, but that and the blues we used throughout our project took on a whole new meaning!”
They worked out of the extension office at the Grayson County Courthouse, tables spilling over with fabric, supplies, and always a quilt in the frame. The ladies kept busy for a year and a half and were ready to present the quilts at a special tea attended by Reba McEntire’s mom and dad. The quilts were added to the guest rooms at the original Reba’s Ranch House and later transferred to the new building.
“We also did thirty-one shams for the pillows on the beds — eight bedrooms full,” Gerry says. “We were delighted to be involved in such a worthy project. Ann Arnold, who worked at Reba’s Ranch House for a long time, took good care of the quilts. When she washed them, she would dry them over the rails of the porch. What a pretty sight they were!”
And what a sight they are for everyone who walks into a guest room at Reba’s Ranch House, greeted with the comfort of a handmade quilt.