News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, November 9, 2023 and The Weekly Packet, November 9, 2023
Area residents crochet for veterans

Area Residents Crochet for Veterans

From left, Mary Crawley, Sandra Wight and Leanne Hoard stand behind the blankets they crocheted for veterans at the Togus VA Medical Center.

Photo courtesy of Joy Bragdon

by Michael Dickerson

On November 13, Mary Crawley of Sedgwick, Sandra Wight of Blue Hill and Leanne Hoard of Deer Isle will donate 24 blankets to veterans at the Togus Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) that they have spent the last several months crocheting. Each blanket is a unique shade or color, individually wrapped and tied with ribbons.

Togus VAMC, which opened in 1866, is the oldest veterans’ facility in the United States, according to the Veterans Affairs Maine Healthcare System and has 67 operating beds and 100 beds for “hospice, dementia, long-stay, and skilled [nursing].” The name “Togus” is derived from the Indigenous word “Worromontogus,” meaning “land of many springs,” according to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Crawley volunteers weekday mornings at the Blue Hill YMCA, which she has been doing for 10 years, and taught Wight and Hoard how to crochet. Crawley says she has a special affinity for veterans and has several in her family. Her brother lost his leg in a land mine explosion in the Vietnam War. Her husband was in the Air Force and is also a Vietnam veteran, while her father and grandfather were World War II and World War I veterans, respectively.

Crawley expressed particular satisfaction with the softness of the yarn she is currently using. When asked about Crawley, YMCA Fitness Director Joy Bragdon said, “She’s special…we love her.”