Photo by Curt Yeomans
Representatives of the Augustin Clayton Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution presented 19 blankets to the City of Jonesboro and its police department, on Tuesday. The blankets are intended to be given, by police, to children who have experienced trauma in their lives.
The Jonesboro-based Augustin Clayton Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution have made more than 300 blankets for law enforcement officers and veterans over the last three years, according to Phyllis Lawson.
Lawson, the chapter’s first vice regent, said the group began making the blankets for the Linus Project, which donates blankets to police departments, whose officers, in turn, give them to children they deal with while responding to traumatic events.
Next, the chapter started giving blankets to local military veterans, and later, the county police department, she said.
But, since December 2010, the group has been donating blankets to the Jonesboro Police Department, who use the blankets for the same purpose that the Linus Project blankets are intended for — to comfort children who have experienced trauma in their lives.
The blankets currently go to the Jonesboro Police, at least partially as a tie-in to the fact that the chapter was founded in the city, in 1973, according to the first vice regent.
“We just thought it would a good way to give back to our community, since this was where we began,” said Lawson, who oversees the blanket project for the chapter.
Lawson and the chapter’s current Regent, Janet Sherling, delivered another 19 blankets to Jonesboro officials on Tuesday afternoon, marking the third time the group has made a blanket donation to its local police department.
The donation brought the total number donated by the Daughters of the American Revolution, to Jonesboro Police, to approximately 50.
The city’s police officers keep the blankets in their patrol cars, and distribute them to children at the scene of an accident, or a crime, said Jonesboro Police Sgt. Jonathan James, who received the blankets donated this week. He said giving a blanket to one of these children is “like giving them toys,” because they can “relate to the colors and the characters on the blankets.”
He added that children “get attached” to the blankets as they cope with a trauma.
“It helps if they are going through any kind of trauma, or anything, or anxiety from being pulled away from a family member,” James explained. “I mean, there’s nothing worse than putting a kid on a helicopter to go to Egleston [Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston], and mom’s going to Grady [Memorial Hospital]. They’re not together, and that’s pretty traumatic [for the child].”
Jonesboro Mayor Joy Day said she appreciates “the time, and the effort, and the thoughtfulness” of the Daughters of the American Revolution members, for making the blankets. Virtually every donated blanket is handmade by a member of the group.
“It’s a very unselfish project, and something that we certainly appreciate, and will remember as we give out these blankets,” Day said. “It will bring comfort to many children, both in Clayton County, and many children passing through Clayton County.”
Sherling said it will be up to the members of the local Daughters of the American Revolution Chapter, as to how much longer they make the blankets for the Jonesboro Police Department, but she added that the partnership will continue for at least a little bit longer.
“I’d say we’ll continue to do it for the rest of this year, and next year at least, and then, it will be somebody else’s decision,” she said.