Patricia Clemens of Tamaqua visited a recent meeting of the Weatherly American Legion Auxiliary Unit 360 to make a personal donation of $1,000 toward the "Ride 2 Recovery" program, which helps wounded veterans in their recovery and rehabilitation.
Ride 2 Recovery helps wounded veterans improve their mental health as well as physical strengths by supplying them with bicycles custom built to meet the individual needs of the veteran which they train on.
The bicylces are theirs to keep after rehabbing from the hospital.
The cost for one of these bikes and the training for each veteran is $6,000.
The bicycles and subsequent rides that they can participate in around the country give these vets the motivation and direction to overcome the obstacles that they face and give them something to look forward to.
The program gives them hope and inspiration and allows them to show other wounded veterans returning home that there is so much they can accomplish in spite of their disabilities.
Clemens, who is the American Legion Auxiliary Eastern Vice Chairman Veteran's Affairs and Rehabilitation, personally raised the $1,000 over the holidays through sales of handmade scarves that she made and then sold at places such as the Hometown Farmer's Market.
She got started with yarn she obtained from the estates of her mother-in-law Mary Dolena and her aunt Edith Zeart, which she used to crochet while watching TV at night. She crocheted well over 100 scarves.
When Clemens found out about the Ride 2 Recovery program, she knew what she would do with these scarves – raise money for soldiers who did not come back 100 percent.
She told the story of a woman who saw her picture in the TIMES NEWS recently, noting that she was selling the scarves, who said that her 10-year-old grandson grabbed ahold of her and said; "Grammy I want to be a soldier when I grow up. Will you please get all of that yarn out of the attic and give it to this lady so that she can help the soldiers?"
So they met in Jim Thorpe and she gave her a large amount of yarn and an afghan.
In her efforts to raise more funds for the program, Clemens said she would accept donations of cash or yarn, and if she is given a cash donation, it will save her the four hours or so that it takes to make a scarf.
She also noted, that if it is within reason, she will take special orders such as for a hat, baby blanket, or afghan if she can and, if anyone else would like to join in, she welcomes their help and donations.
She is always looking for volunteers to help crochet for our soldiers and, if people already have some things made up, she will take them to sell to help raise funds.
In the future, Clemens hopes to be at local community events such as the festivals at the No. 9 Mine in Lansford, Jim Thorpe, and Tamaqua to raise additional funds for veterans.
In addition to the fundraising items, they are doing scarves and helmet warmers for active serviceman, which must be 100 percent wool, and they are given to them at their deployment ceremony.
Next year in 2011, the Ride 2 Recovery will be going through Pennsylvania on the 10th anniversary of 9-11, and the ride is expected to have up to 1,000 veterans participating.
The American Legion will be one of the sponsors of the ride and for a $3,000 donation you can ride along with them on your own bike from Gettysburg to the Pentagon.
For more information on the Ride 2 Recovery program and to see videos of previous rides. you can visit at www.ride2recovery.com.
Anyone interested in helping out the fundraising for the program through Clemens and the American Legion Auxiliary, either through a purchase or donation, can obtain more information by calling Clemens at (570) 668-4886 or by e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Any help that can be offered benefits the mental and physical rehabilitation of the men and women of our armed forces.