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Rindge

Spreading hope, a blanket at a time

Church hosts Project Linus volunteers making blankets for kids in need

  • Sandi Turner of Peterborough makes a red fleece blanket at the First Congregational Church in Rindge on Saturday to benefit Project Linus, a national nonprofit organization that provides homemade blankets to children in need. Turner is the assistant co-coordinator of the agency's Monadnock region chapter.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Sandi Turner of Peterborough makes a red fleece blanket at the First Congregational Church in Rindge on Saturday to benefit Project Linus, a national nonprofit organization that provides homemade blankets to children in need. Turner is the assistant co-coordinator of the agency's Monadnock region chapter.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Monadnock region residents make blankets for Project Linus, a nonprofit organization that distributes blankets to children in need. The local event was held at the Rindge Meetinghouse on Saturday.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Monadnock region residents make blankets for Project Linus, a nonprofit organization that distributes blankets to children in need. The local event was held at the Rindge Meetinghouse on Saturday.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Janet Kohlmorgen of Rindge, left, and Colleen Keegan of Rindge knit blankets Saturday at the First Congregational Church in Rindge for Project Linus. The blankets will be given to area shelters and hospitals.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Janet Kohlmorgen of Rindge, left, and Colleen Keegan of Rindge knit blankets Saturday at the First Congregational Church in Rindge for Project Linus. The blankets will be given to area shelters and hospitals.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Monadnock region residents make blankets for Project Linus, a nonprofit organization that distributes blankets to children in need. The local event was held at the Rindge Meetinghouse on Saturday.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Monadnock region residents make blankets for Project Linus, a nonprofit organization that distributes blankets to children in need. The local event was held at the Rindge Meetinghouse on Saturday.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Monadnock region residents make blankets for Project Linus, a nonprofit organization that distributes blankets to children in need. The local event was held at the Rindge Meetinghouse on Saturday.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Monadnock region residents make blankets for Project Linus, a nonprofit organization that distributes blankets to children in need. The local event was held at the Rindge Meetinghouse on Saturday.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Monadnock region residents make blankets for Project Linus, a nonprofit organization that distributes blankets to children in need. The local event was held at the Rindge Meetinghouse on Saturday.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Monadnock region residents make blankets for Project Linus, a nonprofit organization that distributes blankets to children in need. The local event was held at the Rindge Meetinghouse on Saturday.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Monadnock region residents make blankets for Project Linus, a nonprofit organization that distributes blankets to children in need. The local event was held at the Rindge Meetinghouse on Saturday.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Monadnock region residents make blankets for Project Linus, a nonprofit organization that distributes blankets to children in need. The local event was held at the Rindge Meetinghouse on Saturday.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Monadnock region residents make blankets for Project Linus, a nonprofit organization that distributes blankets to children in need. The local event was held at the Rindge Meetinghouse on Saturday.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Monadnock region residents make blankets for Project Linus, a nonprofit organization that distributes blankets to children in need. The local event was held at the Rindge Meetinghouse on Saturday.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Brian Kohlmorgen, 10, of Rindge puts the finishing touches on a fleece blanket Saturday at the First Congregational Church in Rindge. Kohlmorgen, who had surgery as an infant, said he hopes that his blanket will comfort an ill child.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Brian Kohlmorgen, 10, of Rindge puts the finishing touches on a fleece blanket Saturday at the First Congregational Church in Rindge. Kohlmorgen, who had surgery as an infant, said he hopes that his blanket will comfort an ill child.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Sandi Turner of Peterborough makes a red fleece blanket at the First Congregational Church in Rindge on Saturday to benefit Project Linus, a national nonprofit organization that provides homemade blankets to children in need. Turner is the assistant co-coordinator of the agency's Monadnock region chapter.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Monadnock region residents make blankets for Project Linus, a nonprofit organization that distributes blankets to children in need. The local event was held at the Rindge Meetinghouse on Saturday.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Janet Kohlmorgen of Rindge, left, and Colleen Keegan of Rindge knit blankets Saturday at the First Congregational Church in Rindge for Project Linus. The blankets will be given to area shelters and hospitals.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Monadnock region residents make blankets for Project Linus, a nonprofit organization that distributes blankets to children in need. The local event was held at the Rindge Meetinghouse on Saturday.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Monadnock region residents make blankets for Project Linus, a nonprofit organization that distributes blankets to children in need. The local event was held at the Rindge Meetinghouse on Saturday.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Monadnock region residents make blankets for Project Linus, a nonprofit organization that distributes blankets to children in need. The local event was held at the Rindge Meetinghouse on Saturday.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Monadnock region residents make blankets for Project Linus, a nonprofit organization that distributes blankets to children in need. The local event was held at the Rindge Meetinghouse on Saturday.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Monadnock region residents make blankets for Project Linus, a nonprofit organization that distributes blankets to children in need. The local event was held at the Rindge Meetinghouse on Saturday.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Brian Kohlmorgen, 10, of Rindge puts the finishing touches on a fleece blanket Saturday at the First Congregational Church in Rindge. Kohlmorgen, who had surgery as an infant, said he hopes that his blanket will comfort an ill child.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

RINDGE — Brian Kohlmorgen, 10, of Rindge was born with a 7.2 centimeter cyst in his brain. Doctors used a shunt in an attempt to drain the cyst when Kohlmorgen was just four weeks old, but that initial surgery was unsuccessful. When Kohlmorgen was 4 months old, doctors tried once more to remove the cyst.

“This time successfully,” his mom, Janet Kohlmorgen, said Saturday. “He’s lucky to be alive.”

The family’s struggle was close to the Kohlmorgens’ hearts this weekend as they made warm, polar fleece blankets to benefit children who are seriously ill, traumatized or otherwise in need. The blankets that the Kohlmorgens and dozens of others from throughout the Monadnock region made at the First Congregational Church — or donated prior to Saturday’s event — will benefit Project Linus, a national nonprofit organization that strives to provide a sense of security and comfort to children in need.

“We know what it’s like to be in a hospital and going through a major crises,” Janet Kohlmorgen said. “Any little thing makes a big difference.”

The fleece blanket that Brian Kohlmorgen made with his friend, Haley Hannon, 7, of Rindge is something they took immense pride in at Saturday’s blanket-making event. The pair jumped up and down celebrating the blanket’s completion, and then showed it off to family and friends.

“When I was just a baby, I had to have brain surgery twice,” Brian Kohlmorgen said of his time at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon. “If there is a little kid that has to have brain surgery there, I know this blanket will make them better.”

Hannon said she wished she could keep the blanket she and Brian Kohlmorgen made, but said, “I’m happy its going to charity.”

Since Susan Monkton and her sister, Sandi Turner, both of Peterborough, opened a local chapter of Project Linus in January 2007, they’ve delivered more than 4,700 blankets to children. To date, Project Linus — named after the security blanket-toting character from the Peanuts comic strip — has delivered more than 4 million blankets through nearly 400 chapters nationwide.

Saturday, volunteers made 83 blankets that will be distributed to nearby hospitals and shelters, including Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough, Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center in Greenfield and The Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Manchester.

All of the blankets are made from brightly-colored fabrics and yarn, easily washed and child-friendly, Monkton said, adding, “They get loved a lot.”

“The parents can’t believe that someone would care enough to make a blanket for a child that they don’t even know,” Monkton said. “Our blankets cuddle kids and put a smile on the faces of their parents.”

Penny Chase of Winchendon, Mass., who is a member of Rindge’s First Congregational Church said she was excited to see so many volunteers contribute their time and knitting skills to the cause.

“All of my friends are here so I feel like it’s a huge party,” Chase said.

Hosting Project Linus at the First Congregational Church has given church members an opportunity to connect with others in the community and spread hope, said the Rev. David Jadlocki.

“It’s not just about being in these walls, but the church being out in the world, as well,” Jadlocki said.

Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or adandrea@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.

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