Knit or Crochet to Help Military Members in Need

Lori with her late husband Ed on their wedding day. Photo provided by the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation.

Lori with her late husband Edward. Photo provided by the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation.

We here at Interweave have been helping to share the joy of Caron’s World’s Biggest Stocking project, which raises funds for the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation. This outstanding organization helps hundreds of children who have lost parents in the line of duty overcome financial struggles in order to attend college. We sat down with one such family to hear their story of how the Foundation has helped change their lives for the better. Meet Lori Kleppe of Florida!

Would you mind sharing some background on your situation?
Lori: I met my husband in college and he went on to become a helicopter pilot in the Navy. He had an accident involving four helicopters coming from Puerto Rico and returning to Philadelphia. I had an almost 2-year-old at the time and was expecting another. I moved to New York to be with my parents, who were semi-retired with a house in Florida. That did let me save some money for my kids for college…I was thinking I might be able to scrape by and that’s when I got the call from Fallen Patriots who were able to fill in the rest and pay off a loan we had.

Lori's sons Evan, left, and Drew on Evan's graduation day.

Lori’s sons Evan, left, and Drew on Evan’s graduation day.

How did you first become involved with the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation?
They actually found me through a friend, who was my husband’s best friend in ROTC. They were in the Navy together. I got together with him for lunch and he had done some business with a man who was on the board of Fallen Patriots. It was a total stroke of luck and good fortune.

What sorts of things have the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation been able to offer you that you wouldn’t have received otherwise?
The money is obviously fantastic and my kids not having student loans by the time they graduated. You can’t minimize the impact of that. But in addition to the money … My kids grew up in a suburb of New York City where there was no presence of military people or appreciation. This was the first time that they were really made to feel that [their dad’s death] was an important sacrifice, that this was an important thing. Once they got involved with Fallen Patriots, it opened up a whole world of appreciation for them. They do a lot of work with the organization now.

Evan, Drew, and Lori on Drew's graduation day, 2010.

Evan, Drew, and Lori on Drew’s graduation day, 2010.

Do you have any advice for other families who may be in a similar situation as yours?
Part of the challenge [for the Fallen Patriots] is finding the kids and connecting with them. I don’t know what to say besides learn about it. It’s a little hard at first to take the help, but it’s not all about the need. It’s about the honor and the thank-you. It took me a little while to accept the help on those terms. I think it’s wonderful—people should understand there are people who want to do that for them. The people in this organization are fantastic.

While Caron is no longer accepting blankets to be stitched into the World’s Biggest Stocking, you can still create a blanket to have it donated to military charity. Just download one of our free knitting or crochet patterns, purchase the necessary Caron United yarn, and get stitching! Once finished, you may send your blanket to the following address:

Caron United – World’s Biggest Stocking Project
1481 West 2nd Street
Washington, NC 27889-4157

Together, we can use our passion for knitting and crochet to contribute to a great cause!