CREATED Aug. 26, 2013
WEST ALLIS - Bernice and Eugene Brah could be called the quilting couple of West Allis. For 50 years they've been making sure that colorful covers go to the less fortunate.
They've given away more than 5,000 quilts to local shelters. Seeing the grateful keeps them going. Bernice recalls seeing a couple outside a shelter after one of their donations.
"The woman said to her husband as they passed, 'Poppa we're going to be warm.' We went home and started all over again."
Bernice and Eugene have been married for 67 years. He's a former fireman, she's a former nurse. Bernice jokes, "If we have an argument, we don't go to bed until its settled. Sometimes we stay up two or three days."
The Brahs' have raised kids all their lives. Ten foster kids, one adopted son, plus four biological children. Eugene recalls, "All four of our natural children were born premature. They kept on getting smaller!"
In fact, their 4th child weighed only three pounds at birth. They were so elated their baby lived, they made a pledge to help others. So, they began distributing quilts.
The fabric of their love is laughter. Bernice says, "Like they always say, if you see somebody without a smile give them one of yours!" The only thing more colorful than their patchwork, their personalities.
When they were married, Eugene laughs about a proclamation he made. "I only want one thing understood, I get the last word! Sometimes it may only be yes dear!"
Bernice lovingly adds, "And he's always gotten the last word!" They proudly admit, divorce has never been an option. Bernice deadpans, "Divorce never, murder....but never divorce!" They both erupt in laughter.
The Brahs' are members of the St. Therese Parish in Milwaukee. The material for their quilts is donated. The quilts go only to charity and are never sold for profit. As the Brahs' show off pictures of their family, it's clear love is a common thread.
Though the world is often cold and cruel, the Brahs' have found their own remarkable way to spread warmth. Eugene adds, "Thank you God for all of our blessings. We hope someone will be impressed and say, hey if that old couple can do it, so can we!"