8/16/18

Pair of hands wrap surgeon in comfort with honor

Dolores McNabb and Leslie Manohar, MD, both extend a helping hand to bring comfort to others. McNabb as a quilter. Dr. Manohar as a surgeon.

“I like working with my hands and using my skills to get people back to their usual level of activity,” said Dr. Manohar. “Doing so through the Navy helped me to see the world and serve my county.”

The pair met when Dolores’ husband, David, needed hip surgery. He spotted Dr. Manohar’s military service in her biography.

The McNabbs felt compelled to thank Dr. Manohar not just for her great care, but for her service, too.

The Quilts of Valor Foundation covers service members touched by war with handmade quilts to provide comfort and support. The group awarded 192,433 quilts nationwide since 2003. Dolores, from Olney, supports the cause even though no one in her family serves. She’s constructed nearly 40 quilts including “Huzzah,” which she gave to Dr. Manohar.

A Quilt of Valor®, hand- or machine-quilted, signifies thanks for service, sacrifice and valor in serving the United States in combat. The Quilt of Valor is a single lifetime award – the civilian equivalent of a Purple Heart.

“The quilt brings a three-part message from our hearts: honor, freedom and comfort,” Dolores said.

Dr. Manohar serves patients and her country as a Navy reservist following four years of active duty at Jacksonville, FL, and a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. Stationed at a forward-operating base, she treated United States troops and Afghani citizens, putting her orthopedic skills to use daily.

“I consider it an honor to care of those who serve. We saw a lot of wounds and casualties. It wasn’t always easy,” Dr. Manohar said. “But I see how care positively impacts their lives.”

Having served, she feels a connection.

“Our veterans deserve great care. I find my service helps me relate to patients better,” Dr. Manohar said. “I know the types of activities they have done – like people who jumped out of airplanes or helicopters, I have a greater appreciation for that.”

Today she assists many veterans, military spouses and active-duty personnel. Sometimes, her service simply sparks conversation like when she met the McNabbs.

David sought care after several years of progressing pain to ensure he didn’t miss important things like family vacations and church camp where he serves as chaplain. He hasn’t missed a camp season in 48 years, and this won’t be his first.

“She encouraged vitamins to boost my immune system prior to surgery so I’d have the best chance at quick recovery and help me make it to 50 years. I don’t have the most physically demanding job there, but it’s important and I’m determined,” he said.

Dr. Manohar said helping patients recover and live normal lives fulfills her. Dolores finds similar meaning in volunteer work.

“I started because I enjoy quilting and have time. I continue because the ceremonies are special to me,” Dolores said.