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Writers Inspiring Change feature author: Phyllis Lawson

Ms. Lawson was born in Detroit, Michigan. At the age of four, she was sent to the tiny town of Livingston, Alabama to be raised by her grandmother Lula Horn (1883-1986), who made beautiful quilts out of the clothing of her loved ones. Each strip of fabric tells the story of the wearer’s life and death. She shared these mostly tragic and sometimes witty tales with little Phyllis as she sewed their clothes into a quilt that threaded broken lives back together. Ms. Lawson now shares these profound stories with the world as Grandmother Lula told them to her. After graduating from High School, Ms. Lawson joined the United States Air Force as a WAF (Women’s Air Force) and was one of the first female B-52 mechanics. She served one tour in the Air Force and left the service in 1978. She used her military educational benefits to attend the University of Maryland, receiving a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Sociology and Social Work. She spent twenty years working as a counselor for incarcerated youth, women who were victims of domestic violence, and with youth and adults suffering from alcohol/substance abuse. Three of those years were spent in the United States Army Reserves.

Following a seventeen-year break from military service, in 2002 Ms. Lawson returned to the military as a member of the U.S. Army National Guard and Active Duty Service, retiring from the U.S Army in 2013. During this period she served as an Aviation Operations Specialist, Equal Opportunity Advisor and Instructor. Ms. Lawson was one of only a handful of women in the military who served in three major military conflicts including the Vietnam Era where she served three temporary duty assignments to Vietnam before the 1975 fall of Saigon. She was also deployed to Saudi Arabia as a member of Operation Desert Storm, and in December 2003 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She has received three military campaign medals for assignments where she served to support the United States Armed Services in armed conflict, including a U.S. Army Expeditionary, Global War on Terrorism and a host of other Army and Air Force medals for superior performance in the line of duty.

After retiring from the military, Ms. Lawson spent the following two years writing her memoir Quilt of Souls, released March 13, 2015. Since its release, this poignant memoir has garnered a great deal of buzz from social, print and television media. Quilt of Souls is consistently viral on Facebook. As a result of the popularity of her memoir, she has been interviewed and appeared in over 40 different media outlets including internet blog talks, on-line newspapers, social media forums, television, radio and media advertisements. Since October 2015, Ms. Lawson has had over 30 public appearances in support of her memoir Quilt of Souls. She has appeared at Public Libraries, Book Clubs, High Schools, Quilting Guilds and Genealogical Societies. Ms. Lawson currently resides in Viera/Suntree, Florida with her husband Larry. She has two sons and five Granddaughters.

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