Hand-knitted, camouflaged afghans from Havelock are headed to Afghanistan with 21 Marines bound for the war-torn country.
Dean Roberts, a member of the Tuesday knitting group at the Havelock Senior Center, said the idea came to the group from Emily Paley, a Havelock High School teacher with a Marine husband scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan next week.
"She wanted to know if she furnished the yarn, would we make all of them an afghan, so it would be something from home," Roberts said of Paley.
With camouflaged yarn shipped from Maine by Paley’s mother, Rebecca Laffey, the Havelock knitters went to work.
"It’s taken us about six weeks to do this," Roberts said. "We had to work really fast to get that many done. They’ll have them to take with them when they’re there. She ordered camouflaged colors; then we ran out so we got whatever color that we could get."
The group made 22, which is just enough for the 21 members of Camp Lejeune’s 2nd Law Enforcement Battalion for which Paley’s husband, Gunnery Sgt. Fred Paley, is responsible. Overall, about 300 members of the battalion are scheduled to deploy in April.
"This is the first time he’s been gone and been in charge of everybody because he’s going to be the provost sergeant of a lot of young kids and some women, so with the ladies that knit here I thought we could do something and we came up with afghans and we said good — afghans for Afghanistan," Emily Paley said. "His troops are excited. It brings a little bit of home to them."
Her husband said the gifts were appreciated.
"It’s great," he said. "The guys and my captain are all excited. They appreciate everything. It’s like being able to bring a piece of home from people we know who care back home with you overseas. It’s good to know that somebody cares. It will be cold when we land so it will come in handy, especially on the plane and all that."
Roberts said all the afghans are camouflaged except for four — the group ran out of camouflaged colors — and are in all different sizes.
"We’ve got four that aren’t camouflaged. We tried until we gave out of camouflaged colors," Roberts said.
But as it turns out, there will be four ladies in the group.
"We wanted them to be big enough so that if they were cold on their cot asleep or whatever and they just wanted to throw something over them, it would be able to cover them," Roberts said.
Last year, the group made helmet liners for the Marines. They have also have made baby blankets for new military mothers, and blankets and hats for premature babies and for the Linus project.
"We just call ourselves the knitters," Roberts said of the eight to 20 group members that come together from 9 a.m. to noon every Tuesday at the Havelock Senior Center.
"It’s just a fun group that gets together every Tuesday morning. Anyone who wants to knit or to crochet is welcome to join us," Roberts said.
Emily Paley said the women make a big difference in the military community.
"Each of the blankets is unique and individual, just like each of the Marines that are going," she said.
Roberts said cards will be sent with the Afghans.
"There is a message in there from us to let them know how much we’re thinking of them and praying for them," she said.