Kathy Norris started crocheting blankets called afghans for Military Veterans over nine years ago. For one lap blanket, it takes her 72 hours to complete and 45 minutes to crochet a single row. Norris’s afghans are large enough to fit a twin size bed. As a member of The American Legion Auxiliary 158 for over 52 years, Norris is deeply involved and cares for the Veterans in her local community.
“They are so thrilled when they get these,” Norris said. “I got to go up there once and give them away. One of them was so happy he kissed me right on the lips.”
“She’s made a little over two hundred of the blankets,” Norris’s husband, a Marine Veteran, explained. “I’m so proud of her. It gives her something to do, and keeps her off the streets.” Norris chuckled at her husband’s remark.
Norris’s handiwork is made from store bought yarn to match the random assortment of donated materials by her friends and family. Before becoming an expert at making her afghans, Norris made slippers for the Veterans.
“I never could get two of them that were alike,” Norris said. “One was always bigger than the other. Then, I thought I might as well try blankets.”
Along with making afghans, Norris volunteers to help wrap Christmas presents at the local VA Hospital on Southwest United States Veterans Road in Tigard, Oregon. Veterans are able to select presents for themselves and some to give away. The VA Hospital wraps and mail out these packages to Veterans for free. “It’s like a store up there,” Norris said. “Any Veteran can come in and go shopping there.”
Norris was raised as the youngest of nine kids. Throughout her marriages, she raised eight children. She is no stranger to working hard as she used to work as a secretary during the daytime and barmaid at night. Norris sees her past experiences as a way to give back to those who have given so much to her. This energy inspires her to continue her work for the Veterans.
“Our Veterans take care of us, so we have to take care of them,” Norris said. “I’ll never give up on making the afghans.