It was a year ago today that I was walking through the house with my dogs, taking them out for the seemingly millionth time that day when my Mom stopped me to tell me she needed to talk to me when I got back. Upon coming back inside, she started telling me about her idea about a non-profit organization. She mentioned lapghans repeatedly and of course, not being creative in the least, asked if she meant afghan instead of lapghan. That is when she told me what a lapghan was. We searched the area and could not find any local organization that was doing anything similar to what my Mom had wanted to do. We discussed various names and on Flag Day, June 14, 2014, Sgt. P’s Lapghans for Veterans was born. I immediately started working on the website and Facebook page, setting up twitter and email accounts. My Mom typed up her first flyers and started displaying them in local businesses.
She discovered quickly something I had discovered with all my work with military and veteran organizations over the years, that many people only gave lip service to the notion of supporting our troops and veterans. We have had many ups and downs over this past year, encountered unexpected joys and discouraging obstacles, but we are still here and going strong.
In our first year, we have distributed 183 lapghans to veterans. Our organization has grown from my Mom being the only one producing lapghans to our 44 volunteers today. My Mom has been interviewed in local newspapers and on local television stations, she has given presentations to local schools, churches, and other organizations. My Mom pledged to have 200 lapghans for the Top of Illinois Veterans Stand Down in October of this year, and so far, we have 150 set aside for that event alone. As you saw on Friday’s post, we are so thrilled that we have finally received our 501(c)(3) designation. This opens up more opportunities for fundraising and yarn drives. As we continue to grow and become more and more aware of the need for these lapghans, we will continue to collect yarn and can now collect monetary donations to offset the costs of paper, ink, transportation, and of course, yarn.
I write this today because I am so very proud of my Mom. She has been amazing as she has taken her idea and transformed it into a reality that has exceeded her expectations. I am so thankful for all of the volunteers and for everyone who has supported this cause. It is so important that we demonstrate in actions, not words that we truly stand behind our troops and veterans. So on this Flag Day, I ask that we remember and honor those who have served and sacrificed to defend our freedom.
So happy first anniversary Sgt. P’s Lapghans for Veterans and congratulations Mom for all you have done and all you continue to do. My grandpa (Sgt. P himself) is so proud and humbled by your actions, as we all are.