By Debby Donovan
Special to The SUN
Operation Gratitude is a program created to lift the spirits and meet the evolving needs of the U.S. military and first-responder communities by providing volunteer opportunities for Americans to express their appreciation to all who serve our nation.
In March, Annie May Stone, local knitter and weaver, presented an opportunity for the Pagosa Stitchers to knit and crochet as many hats and scarves as possible by the program’s June deadline.
Feeling this was the least they could do to show their appreciation for service and sacrifice, volunteers promptly proceeded to purl, drop stitch and magic loop a total of 70 hats and scarves to donate.
Currently, these offerings are on their way to be included in care packages for our deployed troops.
As Carolyn Blashek, Operation Gratitude founder, said, “Handmade hats and scarves are in our care packages because they convey the important message that people at home care enough to lovingly create something warm and personal.”
Although Operation Gratitude only specified finished sizes and types of yarn to be utilized, undoubtedly, there was a bit of love and admiration woven in amongst the fibers of each piece as well.
When not whipping up creations for themselves, family and friends, the Pagosa Stitchers have also contributed locally by making eye masks for the oncology department and baby blankets for the emergency room at Pagosa Springs Medical Center. They have also joined efforts with other local stitchers to make Pagosa Pals, which puts teddy bears with the police, fire and social services departments to hand out when encountering children in crisis.
All stitchers of all abilities are welcome to join the Pagosa Stitchers on Fridays from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at 197 Navajo Trail. There’s no fee, plus coffee, tea and camaraderie are plentiful. Many thanks go out to the Pagosa Springs Arts Council who have warmly welcomed the Pagosa Stitchers to their new events center.