Rice U. Staffers Knit Together For Soldiers

November 26, 2009

By Rice News staff

When Jane Healey, Nancy Burk and Sau Mei Lees first picked up their knitting needles and yarn during their lunch break more than a year ago, the Rice University staffers had no idea they were “sewing” the seeds of support for American troops serving in combat.

Pictured from left are Nancy Burk, Rama Sundaresan, Jane Healey, Sau Mei Lees, Linda Humphreys, Mindy Bailey, Rosa Gonzalez, Jewel Uhl-Chambers and Belinda Reyna.

Pictured from left are Nancy Burk, Rama Sundaresan, Jane Healey, Sau Mei Lees, Linda Humphreys, Mindy Bailey, Rosa Gonzalez, Jewel Uhl-Chambers and Belinda Reyna.

It began when Burke, an executive administrative assistant, read an article in a knitting newsletter about projects for American troops overseas. Because U.S. soldiers, airmen and Marines endure bitter cold during the long winters in Afghanistan, there is a need for liners for soldiers’ helmets.

The article was enough to spur Burk into action.

Healey, director of financial and business services, and Lees, a department coordinator, joined Burk, and the trio started working on their projects during their lunch hour.

“People would see us working and would stop by to chat for a minute during lunch,” Burk said. “After a while, we had others who thought it looked fun.”

What started out as three people with a shared interest turned into nearly a dozen women working for a cause. The Rice Owls Crocheting and Knitting (ROCK) group was born.

Wanting to direct their efforts to a joint project that could be tackled by those with any level of needlework skills, members of ROCK decided to participate in the Handmade Afghans to Thank Our Armed Forces Project, or HAP. It’s an effort that has knitters and crocheters in every state making 6-by-9-inch rectangles to be pieced together to form twin-bed-sized afghans for wounded and recovering soldiers.

Since May, the ROCK group has completed 98 rectangles — enough for two complete afghans.

“We enjoy working on the projects, and knowing that it might bring some comfort to a soldier who has been wounded serving our country is a great feeling,” Burk said.

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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