Posted by: Jennifer | July 10, 2011

knitting 530 blankets

It’s always lovely to read about someone who has spent years doing something wonderful for her community, not for the glory or the recognition but just because she wanted to help people who needed help.

Greenspring, the largest retirement community in Northern Virginia, is one of 16 Erickson Living retirement communities. It is home to 2,000 residents who have the opportunity to engage in a fulfilling lifestyle with a true sense of community, providing a wide range of activities and kinship with fellow residents.

Once Hermon arrived, Jean Bley took Hermon under her wing. Bley had been in charge of one of the branches of the Navy-Marine Relief Society, located at every military base along the East Coast. The branch at Greenspring is the only one in the Washington, D.C., area. The society sends baby blankets to enlisted personnel with newborn children around the world. The society sends yellow, white, blue and pink yarn for the weekly meetings and ships the blankets out, and the members buy yarn themselves when funds run low.

After 12 years at Greenspring, Janie Hermon is now the leader of the society. “Jean left me a den of yarn,” she said.

The six women meet every Wednesday at 3 p.m., knitting and crocheting for an hour before dinner. “It’s a way to pass the time,” Hermon said of the service she has done. She enjoys the time with friends, also keeping her hands busy while she watches television. She makes at least a blanket a week, translating to roughly 30 hours of work, and made 530 last year.

“My problem is finding more patterns,” Hermon laughs. The women rarely receive thank you letters for their efforts, and never meet the recipients.

“It’s a shame,” said Jessica McKay, the public affairs manager at Greenspring. But the society reports that when the enlisted spouses open the cabinets full of blankets, they are overwhelmed because they do not know which of the beautiful blankets they want.

This is a person definitely deserving of applause and admiration. To spend that much time doing something for strangers with no expectation of acknowledgement or gratitude — it’s rare in today’s world.


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