Stateline Strong: Woman Recruits Volunteers to Crochet Blankets for Veterans

Charlotte Kennedy started Sgt. P's Lapghans 3 years ago.

BELVIDERE - A Boone County woman makes it her mission to wrap veterans in comfort and warmth. Charlotte Kennedy and her band of loyal volunteers started crocheting blankets three years ago in honor of Kennedy's dad, a World War II veteran and others like him.

"We have volunteers that make lap blankets for veterans," explained Kennedy.
There's a total of about 60 volunteers. Twice a month, some locals get together to crochet at the Belvidere VFW, but there are other volunteers in different states, like Alabama. Each stitch is a show of appreciation for the men and women who've fought for our country.

"It may not seem like a whole lot, but to these veterans it means an awful lot," said Kennedy
Charlotte Kennedy founded Sergeant P's Lapghans three years ago. The name comes from her father, Sgt. Walter Petroske.

"My father is 96-and-a-half years old, World War II veteran, and he was in the Battle of the Bulge and was one of the soldiers that disarmed the explosives on the Remagen Bridge," Kennedy said.

Now, his picture lays out as inspiration to those crocheting for Kennedy's cause. Since 2014, the ladies have hooked more than 18-hundred lapghans for veterans and active duty military personnel. There are pictures plastered where everyone can see them, and their gratitude for the gifts is obvious.

"If we can put a smile on a veteran's face and just give this small token of appreciation for their sacrifice and service, that's all that it means to us," said Kennedy.

Kennedy and her dedicated lapghan ladies know the freedom to crochet the red and white stripes so carefully came at a cost of those like her father.

"Many times as a child I remember my dad, all of a sudden at night he would just hit the floor, and I didn't know what was going on," said Kennedy.

Now, she hopes each stitch will solidify us all as Americans.

"Respect everyone, treat people the way you want to be treated, especially our veterans and our active duty military personnel," Kennedy said.

Sgt. P's Lapghans is a non-profit funded completely by donations. The organization is holding an Oktoberfest on Saturday, October 14 at the Belvidere VFW. Tickets are $20 and must be bought in advance. You can purchase at Vintage 815 in Belvidere and also at the Belvidere VFW.






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