Sending Love Overseas
Perfectly Knotty – Arlington, WA
Perfectly Knotty of Arlington, Washington, is a lot of things …
It is one of the sponsors who help support the work that we do promoting locally owned businesses and recreation in Western Washington, and now the Pacific Northwest.
It is a locally owned business in its own right, one that sells allergy conscious fibers out of a fun little shop on Olympic Avenue in Historic Downtown Arlington (WA). P.S. The shop has won Best Arts & Crafts Shop in our Best of SnoCo Awards four years in a row!
It is a gathering place for local knitters and crocheters (yes, there is a difference). A place that they can come for classes or just sit, and talk, and work on whatever project they’ve got going on. Or, if you are like me, you just go there to hang out and talk to the owner Suzi.
Suzi is an amazing individual, one that I’ve been very fortunate to get to know over the course of the last three (almost four) years I’ve been doing this. She has been a constant source of advice and inspiration, from the dedication that she has for her shop and those that come in it to the support she gives in the communities she works and lives in as well.
If you know, or have met, her at all, then you know her impact doesn’t just stop there.
I have the perfect example of that for you … Almost ten years ago, Suzi sent a care package overseas to a Navy special operations team in Afghanistan. It was originally meant for the husband of a friend of hers, but when he returned home before it could be sent out, he encouraged her to send it anyway. In the years since she has put together and sent out countless care packages to the team through her Sailor Box Project. So many in fact, that the team sent her a plaque thanking her for her support earlier this year.
It is recognition that is well deserved and that wouldn’t be possible without help and donations from those in the community. The kiddo and I were fortunate enough to not only learn more about the project, but get to help Suzi put together three sailor boxes a few months ago as well. It was an experience that I, and hopefully my daughter, will never forget. Words and a list of items on a website or donation page can’t even begin to touch on just how important the boxes are, what goes into them both psychically and emotionally, or how much they mean to those receiving them.
What may seem like just sticks of beef jerky, tea and condiment packets, or used books, things we take for granted in our day to day life, mean so much more to soldiers who have been away from their homes, family, and friends for months and months. When communication, whether it is by phone, message, or mail, is slow and infrequent, boxes full of familiar things and comforts, reminders of home, can mean everything. They don’t just put a smile on someone’s face, they maintain a personal connection and provide support and inspiration to continue serving our country.
I know what you are thinking, that seems like a bit of an exaggeration. It’s not though, because there is so much more in the boxes than the items I listed. There aren’t just things to eat or drink, things to pass the time with. No, the most important things in each box are much more personal. The handful of letters and notes thanking them for their service and letting them know just how much it means to the person writing them. The more than a little adorable stack of coloring and notes from children. Both are collected by the local American Legion Post and are reminders of why the service members do what they do, and messages that let them know that people care about what they do and the sacrifices they, and their families, make to do it.
Being able to help not only pack up the items, but take the time to look through and read the notes from adults and kids was an unforgettable experience, one that both my daughter and I are grateful to have been a part of. It is important to take moments, step outside of your day-to-day life, to do things for others. It’s a service to not only them, but you as well. I encourage you to support Suzi’s Sailor Box project or similar efforts to support the troops in your neck of the woods, whether it is donating money, items, or your time to help bring it all together.
You can find out more about Suzi’s project on her website HERE. On it you will find more information and a list of suggested items to donate if you are in the area. She is also accepting monetary donations to help cover shipping ($18 a box) and items to help fill boxes via Paypal HERE. And … if you are local, be sure to reach out and ask about helping put together her next round of boxes. You won’t regret it.
As for Perfectly Knotty, you find out more about the shop and Suzi by checking out our 2018 feature on HERE. And … if you leave near Arlington, WA, or happen to be passing through, STOP BY, even if it is just to chat.