Fifteen years. More than 6,500 blankets. Children comforted locally and around the world. And a group that just keeps sewing, quilting, knitting, crocheting and tying blankets for children who are seriously traumatized or ill.
That’s the story of Project Linus in a nutshell, although there’s obviously much more to the story. The group works with law enforcement and emergency medical personnel at agencies in La Plata and Montezuma counties as well as surrounding counties so blankets are always available when they arrive at a scene and find a child who needs some tender loving care.
These talented people also support the staff at the La Plata Family Centers Coalition to provide blankets to their clients. At Project Linus’s end-of-the-year luncheon, Maribel Balbuena, the early childhood director of the coalition, shared stories about the families that have received the blankets. One way the coalition uses the blankets is to give them to mothers for their newborns at birth.
“In addition to the physical support that this agency provides at childbirth,” said Durango Area Chapter of Project Linus coordinator Regina Hogan, “the blankets are a tangible offering of warmth and security.”
The group has often sent packages of blankets for children who are in areas suffering conflict or a natural disaster, including Afghanistan, Haiti and the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. In 2015, they provided blankets for the babies and toddlers at an orphanage in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.
Local Durango family Dr. Jason Adams, his wife, Diem Phuong Ngoc Nguyen, and their children Manhattan and Axel, visited the orphanage over the holidays to deliver the blankets.
Project Linus members use only new yarn, fleece and quilting fabrics to make their blankets, which come with a note to the child that the creator added love to every stitch. As you can imagine, those materials can be quite expensive when you multiply the cost over the thousands of blankets the group has created.
So once a year, they ask the community to help with the purchase of materials and the occasional postage. The La Plata Quilters Guild continues to be generous to the group, and in 2015, the Mercury Gives program through Vantiv Inc. also made a nice donation.
If you would like to start off the new year by supporting Project Linus, send your donation c/o Regina Hogan, 60 Baranca Drive, Durango, CO 81301. If you’re interested in making blankets for Project Linus, contact Hogan at email@example.com.
I can barely thread a needle, so I feel like the least those like me who are not crafty can do is support those who are, especially for such an important cause. I hope my readers feel the same.
Hopefully these Capricorns have been able to dig out so they can blow out their birthday candles – Therese Michels, Pat Roberts, Pam Furze, Susie Ammann, Connie Matthews, Dan Ammann, Kathy Szelag, Gracie Swanson, Lucinda Jacobs, Barry Hillmer, Libby Heath, Bob Simmons, Jim Bundy, John Yancy, Mary Alice Copeland, Stephanie Bowles, Dottie Johnson, Jamie Pratt, Shari Jennings, Paul Pane, Anne Rudolph, Alfred Rudolph, Carol Warren, Sara Rolph, Nina House and Jon Powell.
While I’m on the subject of quilts, congratulations go to Barbara Morgan on her beautiful Pythagoras’ Lute-pattern quilt. Not only was it the grand champion at the La Plata County Fair, the quilt went on to be accepted into the juried American Quilter’s Society Quilt Show in Phoenix, which will take place from Feb. 11 to 14.
This is the second year in a row Morgan has entered a quilt to the show and had it accepted, which is quite a feat all on its own. I didn’t have space to run two photos with this Neighbors column, but I have attached a photo of her quilt to Neighbors online, because you have to check it out. Absolutely gorgeous, as even the nonquiltlovers would agree.
As I look back on 2015, one of the things I notice is how many stories I meant to write and didn’t have time for because of my responsibilities on the news side of things.
But I can’t let the year slip away without wishing the Mapel family congratulations on the 100th anniversary of Coca-Cola of Durango-Farmington. As is their wont, they celebrated by doing things for the community.
First, they brought in the Diamond Z English Shire Horses of Utah for the Cowboy Gathering Motorless Parade, and later in October, they sponsored a gathering in Buckley Park. About 350 people enjoyed a spread prepared by just about every restaurant in town. Karen Barger, the owner of Seasons Rotisserie and Grill, said her chefs created Coca-Cola baked beans and green chile-cheddar smashed sweet potatoes. I’m relying on her for some details, as I was laid low with a stomach virus that weekend and missed four events, all of which I had been greatly anticipating.
Barger noticed CJ’s Diner, Mutu’s Italian Kitchen, East by Southwest, Serious Texas B-B-Q, Steamworks Brewing Co., El Moro Tavern and Spirits, Olde Tymers Cafe and Tequila’s Mexican Restaurant among the many at the event.
I go to a lot of events – and if it were not against Associated Press-style and considered shouting in the cyber world to write the “lot” in capital letters, I would do so. And there are a few businesses that show up sponsoring one event and organization after another. The Mapels and Coca-Cola of Durango are, without a doubt, among the most generous in town.
I took a quick look at their donation list, which featured more than 30 organizations. Wait, I said, I’ve seen Coca-Cola listed on more donor lists than that, and that doesn’t count what they do privately as a family. It appears that if they donate the nonalcoholic beverages, that may not make their spreadsheet.
So here’s a thank you to four generations of the family, the late Frank Mapel, who became involved with the company in the 1920s and bought it outright in 1960; his son, Don, the company president, and Don’s wife, Sandra Mapel; their son, Frank; his wife, Tiffany; and their daughter, Teagan Mapel; and Don and Sandra’s daughter, Meredith Mapel; the company’s vice president; and her husband, Jimmy Kight.
Meredith Mapel is following the family tradition. Not only is she the first female president of the Mainstream Council of the Coca-Cola Co., a council her dad helped charter, she somehow has time to sit on boards and show off her performing talents as an actress, singer and dancer.
In February, the Durango Arts Center in honoring Sandra and Meredith Mapel as Sweethearts of the Arts, so the community will have another chance to say thanks.
Anniversaries this January call out for a cozy celebration in front of a roaring fire for Tom and Geri Mulligan and Bill and Carol Thurman.
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