Shirley Spencer and Patsy Holcomb transformed father’s Army blanket into scarves for soldiers in Afghanistan

Sparked by a story in a magazine, Shirley Spencer of Calhoun City teamed up with her cousin Patsy Holcomb of Houlka to produce some unique gifts for soldiers currently fighting in Afghanistan.

The story was in Woman's World magazine and was asking citizens to "Help A Hero" by donating "warm clothes" to the Hugs Project – an organization based in Oklahoma that would in turn deliver them to soldiers in Afghanistan.

Shirley Spencer and Patsy Holcomb

"I immediately thought about my dad's Army blanket from World War II sitting up in the closet," Spencer said.

Her father, the late L.D. Bevill, was a native of the Bentley Community in southeast Calhoun County.  During the war he was a Staff Sergeant with the 49th Infantry in Company C.

"He fought under Gen. Patton," Spencer said.

She described him as a very generous, patriotic person.

"He always had an American flag waving at his house," Spencer said. "I knew immediately when I saw this article this was something he would want me to do."

Spencer decided she would transform his Army blanket into scarves for several soldiers. She pulled down her sewing machine and immediately ran into a problem.

"The bobbin on my machine wasn't working so I began thinking of who could help me," Spencer said. "I immediately thought of Patsy."

Holcomb, the daughter of Bentley native Carl Everett Bevill and a niece of L.D. Bevill, told Patsy to come over, but they ran into more trouble. Patsy's machine wasn't working properly either.

"We kept running into problems but we were determined to get it done," Spencer said.

"Whatever it took," Holcomb said.

They had to run the material backwards through Holcomb's sewing machine, but it worked and they produced more than a dozen scarves from the blanket.

Upon completion of the scarves, Spencer made contact with the director of the Hugs Project in Oklahoma and told her what she and Patsy had done. She received permission to include a note with each scarf informing the soldier who received it where it came from.

The people in Oklahoma were so overwhelmed by the gesture, they committed to make certain the scarves went to Staff Sgt. Bevill's same Company currently serving in Afghanistan.

"That really meant a lot to me," Spencer said. "I know he would be proud."

"I think sometimes we have a tendency to forget about them over there," she said. "We take our freedom for granted. We want our soldiers to know we do appreciate them."