SALMON RIVER, N.S.
It’s nice to know someone still cares.
Second World War veteran Ernie Hingley pulls a new afghan that he had just been presented with up over his lap.
“Well that’s very, very nice. It means an awful lot to me,” the Salmon River resident said. “I appreciate it very much. It makes me feel like I’m wanted … to prove it out that they are thinking of me.”
Hingley had just received his afghan from Reby Stewart, head of the Committee for the Sick and Visiting at Royal Canadian Legion Br. 26 in Truro.
The afghan is one of seven that Stewart was provided with by the legion to hand out to aging veterans like Hingley. The high quality and colourful afghans were a donation to the legion from inmates at the Nova Institution for Women in Truro.
“He uses a blanket every day,” said Hingley’s wife Syliva, who knows he will certainly put it to good use.
The afghan program is one of several Giving Back projects that Nova inmates participate in as a way to contribute to the local community, said Laurie Bernard, the institution’s assistant warden of Management Services.
“Our partnering with the John Howard Society, IWK, food bank, etc., is an opportunity for both staff and offenders to practise restorative justice and creates a sense of community and pride,” she said. “Most of what we have given out has been reused and recycled materials that were donated to us or purchased by the inmate committee.”
The afghans are made from yarn donated by the community and the legion is one of a number of organizations and agencies that receives the donations.
Other projects include knitting baby hats, finger puppets, compiling personalized Christmas gift packs and related donations to IWK and supporting Stepping Stones, a Maritime support group for sex workers, as well as the local food bank and homeless shelter.
The inmates have also provided lap blankets for veterans to use during Remembrance Day services.
Stewart said Hingley’s reaction to his gift is typical of other veterans any time they receive a donation or even just a visit.
“I feel every vet is very appreciative of anything you give them, anything you can do for them,” she said. “They say don’t give money. They enjoy the visit, to have people acknowledge they still care. They appreciate it very much.”