American Legion in Brunswick makes blankets for veterans, wounded warriors
Oct. 19--About 50 Wounded Warriors will be presented with handmade blankets next month as part of the American Legion in Brunswick's mission to bring warmth and support to veterans.
"How wonderful to present a handmade blanket to a veteran that the family can cherish," said Connie House, who helped put together the project for the legion. "It's just a unique way of saying, 'Thanks for everything you've done.'"
Members of the American Legion, Steadman-Keenan Post 96 in Brunswick came together Sunday afternoon -- along with members from Community Living, an organization that serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, people from the New Hope United Methodist Church and many other community members -- to put together blankets for veterans. The blankets will be given to Wounded Warriors during the 83rd annual Veteran's Parade on Nov. 8 in Brunswick.
Once the parade is over, House said they're hoping to go to the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center and take blankets to people there. Then, they want to give blankets to all the veterans in long-term care in the Frederick County nursing homes.
The "Warming Our Vets" project started after a woman crocheted a blanket for a veteran who was a customer of hers in a restaurant, House said.
"We were talking about something new we could try," House said. "It was like, 'Hey, why don't we do something like that?'"
So the legion came together to make it happen.
"Post 96 Brunswick Legion is a family," House said.
And the blankets were a great idea to recognize the veterans.
"To me, there is nothing better than a handmade gift," she said, "because it's from the heart."
House said it would be a great gift to the veterans' families as well, to know that people cared enough to make something so special for them.
This is the first time the legion is doing anything like this, House said.
Donna Fuss, an independent support specialist and a member of the auxiliary of the legion, said she got some of her Community Living clients involved in the effort. About five Community Living clients came out Sunday afternoon to help make the blankets.
"They love doing stuff like this," she said. "When I approached them and asked them if they wanted to come and help, they were like 'Oh, yeah.'"
Fuss said she has done a lot of other work with the legion in the past and was excited to be part of this project.
Katie Bishop, a pastor at New Hope United Methodist Church in Brunswick and honorary chaplain for the legion, said she also got some members of the church to come out and volunteer Sunday.
"I've always heard about what great work the American Legion does in the community, always serving, always caring for people." she said. "Every time I turn around, the legion is always doing something to bless someone else."
She said the men and women in the community are constantly serving and it's an inspiring organization of which to be a part. She added that it's great to see so many people from all different parts of the community helping out.
Often, when service men and women come home, they lose a sense of connection, she said. So her hope is that the blankets help remind them they're not alone and the community appreciates all they've done for the country.
"I love this kind of thing," she said, "because I think sometimes we forget our veterans once they come home. We forget that sacrifice they made and this is just a little way we can say, 'We remember you. We honor you. We're thankful for you.'"
House said this is such an important project because veterans deserve respect for the work they've done.
"We have homeless veterans," she said. "We have veterans that are going to soup kitchens for meals. We have veterans that are not able to get into the VA centers. We have veterans that are committing suicide because they just cannot function in life."
These people have put their lives on the line, she said.
"Without our veterans," she said, "we wouldn't be where we are."