Penny Sanford and her cohorts at The Yarn Barn in Burke want firefighters everywhere to know they are appreciated. Sanford and Co. also want the firefighters to stay warm.
Sanford, who owns the yarn specialty store in the Burke II Shopping Center on Burke Road, joined forces with more than 20 women from knitting circles at the store to make scarves for the emergency personnel from Burke Fire and Rescue Station 20, located near the store on Burke Road.
"It’s winter. Everybody needs a scarf. Scarves are in," said Sanford, of Burke, who has owned the store for 30 years. In addition to selling yarn, scarves, hats and other knitting products, the store hosts classes and offers several weekly knitting circles, which cost $5 a session.
It was during one of these circles — the group which meets Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-12 p.m., that an idea was hatched shortly after Christmas.
"We think that’s what did it — it was a little bit of the holiday spirit," said Lesley Kato of Fairfax, who knits in the group regularly, adding that the circle is as much social as it is technical.
"We all knit at home. Everybody comes here a little bit for the company and a little so everybody can help each other," Kato said.
The 20 or so regulars of the group, along with 10 other women, used their two hours on Wednesday to knit the scarves. They also took work home with them, planning to finish enough scarves to cover the necks of the 36 men and women at the fire station.
"We watched them walk by the window without scarves. They’re cold, so they need a scarf," said Sanford
THE PROJECT was completed in mid-January, and Sanford said her women planned to surprise the firefighters. They used Wednesday, Feb. 2, as their day of delivery. After collecting the scarves in two large wicker baskets, Sanford and three other women headed across the street to the front door of the fire station, where they were greeted by Technician Herb Knerr.
"It’s always cool when the public comes in and does something like that for us, whether it be cookies or scarves. It’s nice to know we make a difference to them, and they think about us other than when it’s an emergency," said Knerr. "It really kind of warms your heart and makes you feel appreciated."
The fire station, which has been at its current location since early 2002, employs 30 Fairfax County Fire and Rescue personnel, who work 10 at a time to man the station’s ambulance, firetruck and heavy rescue equipment. An additional six volunteers comprise the station’s staff.
"We see them walking back and forth here all the time, going to get food or whatever," said Kato. "I think it’s nice because they’re so close by, and we see them all the time. They have no idea probably that we’re even here."
Although Knerr said he wasn’t really into knitting, he appreciated the scarves and had noticed the store and its knitting paraphernalia.
"They’re right there on the corner," he said.