WARDEN, Wash. -- Looking back a few months, past the falling leaves and days of rain, we were in the middle of a dry, hot summer.
At a farm in Warden, amid the tall flowers and under the perfect sky, a different crop was growing.
Surrounded by boxes of multi colored yarn, Pat Rogers worked on a distinctly, red, white and blue project.
“As long as I can do it, I might as well keep doing it,” said Rogers,
Rogers diligently crochets hats for a cold winter ahead. She makes hundreds of hats that will cover hundreds of heads all around the world.
“The military is important to us. I know this. So many of them are young men and they have short hair and their heads are cold. It’s not very much but it’s something,” said Rogers.
For several years, Pat has crocheted hats that are packed up in boxes and sent to military members deployed overseas.
When she heard about the Treats 2 Troops campaign five years ago, she and her husband, Bill, traveled down the freeway, about a hundred miles, to deliver a few dozen hats here at KREM.
“That first year it was about 40 and then I asked if they wanted them and you said yes,” said Rogers.
Rogers’ generosity coupled with quick stitching has supplied the majority of the nearly 300 Treats 2 Troops boxes with a hat. It may not be regulation style, but they are warm and heartfelt. Men and women stationed across the globe have received something crafted just for them. For some, that means a particle of peace has somehow landed in the middle of war zone.
A long line of service is stitched into the family’s fabric. That close connection to the military is a motivator for the countless hours spent making those Christmas gifts.
On a hot day in summer while we interviewed Pat inside, the real mission of the moment pulled up.
The woman who spends all winter making gifts for other was about to receive a gift herself.
“We really do appreciate it. It’s such a little thing to me,” said Evangeline Evanzia. “I have a scarf for you, our squadron patch and our squadron coin.”
When Evanzia was stationed overseas, she received a hat. Now back on American soil, specifically on Warden soil, she wanted the chance to say “Thank you.”
“It means a lot to us, the little things you know. You would be surprised how much it means to troops overseas. And it really does remind us of home and that people care about us,” said Evanzia.
Finally, the woman that surprises us each year, got a surprise.
“It’s such a little thing to me,” said Rogers.
It could not have been better timed.
This year, Rogers dealt with a broken back. After months of pain, she had surgery with her family waiting nearby.
“’Mom, you came through, you are doing fine.’ I said, ‘That’s because I’m one tough biddy,’” said Rogers.
Tough, maybe, but with great softness and kindness she stitches one hat at a time. Each takes about 90 minutes to two hours to complete. While Rogers will never meet most of the people who receive these Christmas caps, she now knows that they do arrive. And better yet, they do make a difference.