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Badin students raise money to make blankets for military veterans

Dayton Daily News - 12/2/2019

Dec. 2--Two Badin High School students are behind an effort aimed at giving back to military veterans.

Sophomore Stephanie Hartkemeyer was making blankets with children's group American Heritage Girls earlier this year when she thought of making patriotic blankets for military veterans.

"I just wanted to give back to those who have given (to) us," she said. "Making these blankets for the veterans was a small act of kindness to honor their sacrifices."

After identifying the idea, Hartkemeyer enlisted the help of fellow Badin sophomore Elizabeth Kreimer to search for the means of raising enough money to purchase the necessary material.

The two friends found that idea on Pinterest and offered their fellow students Halloween "Boo-grams" at $1 each. The back-to-basics system consisted of a quick message of "hello" from one student to another, accompanied by a sucker.

Kreimer's mother, Corrine, also posted about the effort Facebook when the teens realized the idea wasn't immediately taking off the way they thought it might. The post went viral, raising more than $1,200 for blanket material via mobile payment service Venmo. An additional $350 earned via in-school efforts helped bring the total amount raised to more than $1,500.

"I never expected anything like this," Hartkemeyer said. "It's great. I'm waiting for 65 yards of material to come in, and then we'll have so many more blankets."

So far, the girls have made 75 blankets using the military-themed blanket material. They'll double that number once the additional material arrives. Each blanket will include a "thank you" note to the service members.

"We need a little more help making the blankets, but we're excited to do this," Hartkemeyer said.

Hartkemeyer, who previously attended Sacred Heart School in Fairfield, and Kreimer, who attended Harrison Junior High, said the goal is to have as many blankets as possible ready for an Honor Flight leaving from Dayton in April. Honor Flight Network takes military veterans and chaperones to Washington, D.C., to visit and reflect at various memorials at no cost to the veteran involved.

Top priority is given to the senior veterans, World War II survivors and those other veterans who may be terminally ill, according to the organization.

"I think we're going to try to make as many blankets as we can by April and then, if we have any extra money, we're just going to donate it to (Honor Flight)," Hartkemeyer said.

The entire fundraising effort has made an impression about the importance of having faith, she said.

"I was really worried about not having enough money ... and it taught me to always rely on the Badin community, and how good the Badin community is, and how much giving back is good for the community," Hartkemeyer said.

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