Hayden Elementary students make fleece blankets for Steamboat seniors | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden Elementary students make fleece blankets for Steamboat seniors

Hayden Elementary School Student Council students give Neva Brown a fleece blanket Thursday at the Doak Walker Care Center in Steamboat Springs. The students made the blankets as Christmas gifts and gave them to eight lucky residents at the care center.

Students involved

Student Council members who made blankets include:

■ Allison Inglos, president

■ Cassidy Crawford, vice president

■ Makenna Knez, secretary

■ Wynter Lighthizer, treasurer

■ Paige Barnes, fifth-grade representative

■ Kyler Cambell, third-grade representative

■ Keaton Knez, third-grade representative

■ Riley Owens, fourth-grade representative

Doak Walker Care Center's dog Bruiser checks out the gift he received from Hayden Elementary School students Thursday.
Scott Franz

— Members of the Hayden Elementary School's Student Council received a memorable and warm welcome in every room they stopped at in the Doak Walker Care Center on Thursday afternoon.

"I've got a lot of friends," Care Center resident Anna Wichern, 100, said after the students handed her a fleece blanket from a gift bag. "This is wonderful."

Wichern then proceeded to hug as many of the eight students as she could to thank them for the impromptu holiday gift.

Looking to spread Christmas cheer, the third- through fifth-grade students carried eight knotted fleece blankets into the care center they made with donated materials from craft stores. For the women, the students covered the blankets with tie dye and polka dot designs, and for the men, they made blankets with an army theme. But the residents all took to them the same way.

"This is a wonderful surprise," resident Neva Brown said as she held onto the red knotted blanket that was handed to her by the eight students.

Bruiser and Alex, the care center's dog and cat, also immediately took to their new winter gifts that were handcrafted by the students.

"It took a lot of patience to make these, but it was worth it just to see their faces as they received the gifts," student council secretary Makenna Knez said.

"Someone knows we care about them," third-grader Keat­on Knez added.

It was the first time many of the students had set foot in the 59-resident care center on the Yampa Valley Medical Center campus. Celia Buckley, the center's community life manager, said it always is nice to have children stop by.

"Everyone here loves to get a visit like this," she said. "It was spontaneous, it was unplanned, and it made it feel more homelike. It was a feel-good moment."

Buckley added that it was difficult to decide which of the residents should receive the gifts.

And by the end of their gift-giving visit, teacher Danielle Dellos said her students had further learned the value of volunteerism and philanthropy.

"You can just tell they have such empathy," she said. "This was the students' idea. I didn't have to do a thing."

Dellos said that on the 30-minute bus ride back to Hayden, the students already were plotting their next philanthropic endeavor.

"They have caught the community service bug," she said.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com