Celebrating and commemorating our veterans. United States military veterans and their families.

Sew Girls – Gig Line #51

GIG LINE

By Marsha M. Brown

It makes me happy to brag about the neat things that are underway for Dare County veterans and their families.

The Dare County Veterans Advisory Council has been truly devoted to the betterment of our veterans and their families and I’m a first hand witness. The members without exception are all committed to reach out to the men and women who have served our country; promote veterans in every way possible; network veterans one to another; encourage and participate in public events that bring attention to veteran sacrifice; seek sources of help for veterans in need and work with other agencies and committees that encourage veteran support.

Fortunately over the past year, the Council both as a whole and through individual member efforts have met or made contact with veterans from one end of Dare County to another. Overall our veterans have shown sincere interest in hearing about veteran related events, only recently sought medical benefits and/or entitlements they may be due, have filed their DD-214 paperwork with the Register of Deeds office and they have expressed gratitude for the attention that is blessing their heart (and ours).

All I can say is hold on folks…you ‘ain’t seen nothing yet’! Between now and the end of this year we will have had a minimum of eight more Council meetings on the forth Thursday of each month at 3:00 PM, not counting Committee meetings of the Council. We will again participate in Dare Day and the OBX Seafood Festival; we will have our third ‘Salute to Veterans’ event this coming November and you will hear of a fall fund raiser for the Wounded Warrior Project. In addition, a big…real big celebration of Vietnam Veterans is already underway for the spring of 2014…and don’t forget the American Legion Fort Raleigh Post 26 meets monthly on the forth Tuesday at 12PM noon as well as the Fraternal Order of Eagles meetings twice monthly on the first and third Wednesday both associations based in Kill Devil Hills.

We want to hear from veterans so we can collect more contact names/addresses for our data base in order to keep in touch with them. If you know of veterans who are interested in the VA Rural Health Care Initiative or who might become more involved in veteran activities, please tell them to contact us either through [email protected] or through [email protected].  They are also welcomed to call my cell: 252-202-2058.

Over the months to come we expect to arrange for special guest speakers to visit us from alternative areas in North Carolina and those of us who are dedicated to the good of veterans everywhere will visit adjoining counties to encourage them to get on board too and make a veteran plan for their communities too.

Our Dare County Veteran ID Card is still in the works and progressing nicely. Because interest is growing in local veteran recognition, the Council invites public member participation to join in and help us with designated Committee projects whenever they are able.

If you happen to know of someone who no longer needs ambulatory equipment such as wheelchairs, electric scooters, chair lifts etc. please contact us. If we don’t know someone in immediate need, we’ll happily contact the Lion’s Club or American Legion to pick them up as a donation to loan out to veterans for later distribution. We know of veterans who could use them now and who need various other sources of help. Please help us help them. 

There are countless ways we can all help veterans in our little towns and counties across our state. My sweetie pie Billy heard the other day about a unique group of dedicated women who purchase new clothing, then take then apart and reconstruct them to accommodate lost limbs and burns so that veterans can dress themselves easier. I was intrigued by this concept and after researching them on the Internet I decided to call them directly. When I did, I spoke with Johannah Lockwood, President of the ‘Las Vegas Sew Girls’. I told her how impressed I was in reading their story and that I wanted to find out more details on how their program worked.

She told me that they receive a list on a regular basis from another organization called ‘Sew Much Comfort’ based in Boulder, CO which is the distribution center for the reconstructed clothing. She said when the Las Vegas Sew Girls started about five years ago, they received a “kit” from ‘Sew Much Comfort’ that included the clothing articles along with the notions required and directions as to the alterations. Once the items were completed and returned, she said they were scrutinized carefully then notified if additional sewing or changes were needed. In other words, the distribution center is picky…really picky. They want the clothing just right for our veterans who receive them.

The L.A. Sew Girls got it down pat and then they went to town. As a recognized non profit charity, they can now receive donations and in turn purchase brand new T-shirts, boxer shorts, athletic wear, pants for outside wear and pajama bottoms. She said that military hospitals make the list of items needed in order to accommodate the incoming wounded warriors…which unfortunately just keeps coming.

Once purchased, they wash all of the new clothing items to remove manufacturing chemicals, and then they go to work dismantling them for reconstruction. Then they attach a label which describes what item it is, what size and the side of the body the adjustment will accommodate. In the process, they use a lot of bias tape and Velcro and there is a very specific design to each article that has to be adhered to for acceptance once mailed to the ‘Sew Much Comfort’ office in Colorado for distribution.

Johanna was very happy to describe their desire to help our veterans feel more independent with comfortable clothing items that won’t irritate a wound and accommodate   a prosthesis and other medical appliances. She added that the ten “senior citizen” women meet twice a month. In addition, she said if anyone would like to make a donation, they could mail it to: Las Vegas Sew Girls, 2158 Eagle Sticks Dr., Henderson, NV 89012. Further, that if anyone would be interested in forming a group of volunteers themselves who would like to sew for our veterans, she suggested they contact ‘Sew Much Comfort’ through www.sewmuchcomfort.org. Lastly she said any veteran that had a need for special clothing should contact them in Colorado and simply ask by writing a letter of request. 

In talking to Johanna, I was touched. Hearing about a group of women who come together for the common good of others…especially our veterans made me smile a lot. It was nice hearing about people who choose to do something “sew” positive.

There’s no telling how many other great ideas are out there to encourage positive efforts and effective results in support of those who have served our nation and I’m determined to search them out!  Let the ‘Las Vegas Sew Girls’ inspire you to find a way to help a veteran. Please.

Until next time, be happy, be safe, be proud and thank a veteran…they deserve it. Thank you for reading GIG LINE and I’m counting on you to stay tuned!

Contact the Editor

Marsha M. Brown has been writing a weekly Gig Line since 2012.  Marsha is the widow of Vietnam War army veteran Billy Brown of Manteo, NC.  She was instrumental in establishing the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council and maintains an active role in the veteran community. You can reach Marsha with questions or suggestions at [email protected].  Have a story to tell or a veteran to feature? She would love to hear from you!

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