When Attleboro resident Rose McGrath heard a New Hampshire woman with a son in the same U.S. Marine Corps unit as her son was looking for help to provide homemade blankets to marines stationed in Afghanistan, she decided to jump into action. They collected more than 300 no-sew blankets that feature various patterns, many with a local flavor, as well as notes of encouragement and love.
McGrath posted a notice on Facebook to seek help from family and friends. Getting that help was not a problem. Several people made their own blankets and got others to do it as well Among them were students in a class of her friend's daughter. They also provided notes of encouragement with the blankets.
"It was really touching to see all the notes," McGrath said.
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She made 10 blankets of her own, and included a note in each of them that stated, "Marines, we're part of you, we miss you, be safe —From the family and friends of Massachusetts."
Among those who will receive the blankets is her son Private First Class Michael McGrath. He took a year off after graduating from Attleboro High School in 2010. Then he followed in his father's footsteps to join the Marines, something he had planned to do since he was young. McGrath graduated from boot camp in January, 30 years to the day his father graduated.
"I was proud of him when he graduated, and I know it meant a lot to him to do it on the anniversary of when his father did," she said.
McGrath has not seen her son since he got to visit during Mother's Day, but she looks forward to seeing him again early next year when he is expected to return home. In the meantime, he and his fellow Marines will get some extra warmth and love courtesy of generous people.
The blankets have been sent to Afghanistan, with the hope that they were able to arrive in time for the U.S. Marine Corp anniversary this past Saturday. McGrath covered the expensive postage and could use some help bringing that cost down. If you are interested in making a donation, send an email to Rose.Mcgrath@ferguson.com.