Who would ever think that a hat could make a difference in the lives of so many people? In the March 2010 Edition of the AARP Bulletin, I read the story called Passing the Hat for the Troops. It was written by Pat Remick.
In 2008, JoAnne Schottler, launched a unique program. She lives in Stratham, NH and is 65 years of age. This program distributes homemade hats to our soldiers returning from or departing for service in Iraq or Afghanistan.
According to the article, “She’s distributed 5,000 hand-knit or crocheted hats to be worn under helmets, and she has another 4,000 in storage.” This idea has gone far beyond her wildest expectations. And to think of the love and time that went into each of them so that our soldiers could be warm! It just goes to show you that the small things can and do make a big impact on the lives of others. I can think of no better recipients than our men and women in uniform.
Ms. Schottler works in conjunction with a volunteer group called Pease Greeters. When soldiers arrive at the Portsmouth, NH International Airport at Pease, they are honored with a welcoming reception. They greet the soldiers at all times during the day and night. Can you spell COMMITMENT? Currently the Pease Greeters volunteers come from four states.
In addition to the hats, the returning and/or departing soldiers are given an embroidered star from a retired U.S, flag. These emblems are proudly placed on the seats of the airplanes in which they are traveling. Gail Curran, a 55 year old volunteer is responsible for adding a special message to the hats. In the article she states, “I write that there’s a prayer for them in every stitch”.
Don’t you just feel warm and fuzzy all over now? I know I do.
Today I take my hat off to JoAnne Schottler for this kind deed that she has created along with the Pease volunteers.
And because of this, I choose JoAnne Schottler to be the American shero of the day.
AARP Bulletin, March 2010, page 8