Thursday, December 11, 2003

Good Things Happening

Gifts for veterans get personal touch

Allen Howard

Each morning between 5 and 7 a.m., Alberta Baldock interweaves yarn through needles to form patterns of lap robes. It is called crocheting. There is no television and not much noise at all during those two hours, she said.

The 83-year-old retired P&G factory worker, who lives in Cheviot, finishes 12 lap robes just in time to give Christmas presents to veterans at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Avondale.

"I started thinking about our boys coming home, and I know there are probably some of them in wheelchairs at the hospital," Baldock said. "They can spread the lap robes across their legs to keep warm while watching television."

She doesn't watch much television, saying it would drive her insane. But crocheting is something she has done for 60 years.

"I try to make each needle hook different," Baldock said "I use a single hook needle on some. Then I use a double hook, a triple, a double triple and a half double. I try to make all of them different colors."

Baldock presented the robes last week to Elmer Ackman, junior vice commander of VFW Post 7340 of Colerain Township. They were presented at the Dunham Senior Center in Price Hill.

"We will present them to the veterans when we make our monthly visit to the hospital," Ackman said.

Vaccination efforts

Instead of Christmas shopping, Sara Peller is in the Republic of The Gambia, participating in a vaccination program to help eradicate measles.

Peller is chief executive officer of the Cincinnati Area Chapter of the American Red Cross.

"Helping to eradicate measles in Africa is something the Cincinnati Area Chapter has taken very seriously," Peller said. "Part of our mission is to aid the victims of disaster. The devastation caused by this disease is most certainly a disaster."

She said the Cincinnati chapter has pledged to raise $55,000 for the measles initiative

To donate to the initiative, call 579-3000. Donations may be made online:

Can drive a success

The FreeStore/FoodBank is still hauling cans of food from the Prince of Peace Catholic School, 4100 Simpson Ave., Madisonville, after a drive among the 137 students netted 1,595 cans.

"It was an overwhelming success," said Debbie Russo, secretary. "They sort of had competition among themselves. The fourth-grade students came out on top with 409 cans."

Seventh-graders came in second with 366 cans.

Russo said the drive was so successful that the FreeStore/FoodBank had to deliver extra barrels.

Acts of Kindness: Gold Star feeds troops

Gold Star Chili stepped up to the plate again when it brought lunch for troops and their families during the Ohio National Guard's Cincinnati Family Assistance Center educational seminar last Saturday.

The seminar at Xavier's Cintas Center was for soldiers and the families of soldiers waiting to be deployed overseas.

Gold Star provided three-way chili meals for about 120 troops and family members after the seminar.

The seminar offered practical advice to families about how to manage day-to-day responsibilities while a loved one is overseas, as well as information about available military and community resources.

"It turned out real well," said Erik Yorke, public relations account manager for Gold Star Chili. "The contact with Gold Star was made through one of the fire companies."

Gold Star Chili supports the Cincinnati Fire Department through fire safety initiatives such as Fire House of the Year, Safe Summer Nights, the annual children's Safety Fair and safety programs conducted by fire departments throughout the area.

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