Upon meeting her, Elizabeth McKellar seems imbued with a sweet, sincere charm born of a desire to assist others. So naturally, the 17-year-old Colville High School senior gravitated toward an expression of compassion for her culminating senior project, which is required of all high school seniors in Washington State.
Colville High School requires seniors to complete at least 15 hours of work on their projects.
McKellarâ€™s goal, she says, is to create and send seven to 10 fleece tie-blankets to Blankets of Hope, a branch of Soldierâ€™s Angels a volunteer-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing aid and comfort to the men and women of the United States armed forces. Blankets of Hope provides blankets for wounded soldiers being transported in medivacs.
â€śI have made them before for my dad and brothers,â€ť McKellar says of the fleece blankets. â€śItâ€™s relaxing; it gives you something to focus on.â€ť
Her connection with the military goes back to McKelÂ¬larâ€™s grandfather, who served in the Air Force and was deÂ¬ployed to Vietnam when her father was only six. When her dad, Robert, turned 18 he enÂ¬listed in the Air Force and served for over 30 years before retiring as a Lt. Colonel last January.
Raised to respect those who serve
â€śHe be gone the first weekÂ¬end of the month every month and for one month a year, every year,â€ť recalls McKellar. â€śOnce he was gone during my birthday when I was in sixth grade and he pre-ordered a bouquet of balloons for me. I thought that was so sweet. I mention this because I was raised to respect those who serve and those who have given more than just family time to keep this country free.â€ť
McKellar is organizing a blanket making party for late March or early April (date and time to be announced) where the public will be invited to join in the experience of making blankets for soldiers. Requirements are the blanÂ¬kets must be two yards in length and made from fleece or patriotic colors.
â€śAnyone who would like to help create these blankets is welcome,â€ť says McKellar. â€śIf you are not the creative sort, donations for the material would be wonderful. It would be fantastic to send off more blankets than I planned.â€ť
This particular project has led McKellar to possibly reÂ¬consider what she would like to do after high school. OrigiÂ¬nally she had wanted to study for a degree in teaching, but now she says she is considÂ¬ering majoring in psychology to help military men and women with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and grief counseling.
â€śIâ€™ve wanted to be a teacher my whole life, but this project has made me think about what else I could do to help others,â€ť McKellar says. â€śSo many people have helped me already with this project and itâ€™s always cool to see how others come together to give to people that they donâ€™t even know. I want to keep doing that, in some way.â€ť
For more information, call McKellar at 509-685-1850 or her project mentor, Shelley Jones, at email@example.com.