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10:35 PM Tue, Nov. 20th

Local women knit caps for soldiers in Afghanistan

The winters in Prescott can be cold, but a group of local women were more concerned about the cold in Afghanistan this past winter.

What began with a son's conversation with his mother spiraled into a massive undertaking, as dozens of women from the tri-city area and beyond knitted hundreds of caps for soldiers serving in the U.S. Army as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"My son, Stan, is a captain, the commander of a special troops battalion, the 101st Airborne," said Sharron Goligoski. "He's 34, and he was 20 when he entered the Army. He had made a scouting trip to Afghanistan, and he called me when he got back and told me about how horribly cold it is over there."

Capt. Stan Goligoski also told his mother about the small huts he and his fellow soldiers would stay in, dwellings that provided little or no heat and insulation against the weather. When he asked Sharron if she would make him a stocking cap, she said that she had bigger goals in mind.

"I asked how many men were in his troop. He said 230," Sharron said. "I said I'd do it - I'd get caps for all of them. He said, 'Can you really do that?' So I said, 'Sure, with some help.'"

With that, Sharron began recruiting knitters from throughout the tri-city area. She started with bulletins at Sacred Heart parish and the American Evangelical Lutheran Church, and from those two groups, the word spread rapidly.

Businesses, including A Good Yarn and JoAnne Fabric and Crafts got involved. Knitting groups, such as the Monday Club's Sunshine Stitchers, as well as individual knitters also wanted to chip in on the effort.

"It even went out of state," Sharron said. "A retirement community in Minneapolis, where my sister is, got involved. They sent 153 caps - it was incredible."

Carol Parknowitz, one of the project's knitters, said they ended up far exceeding their initial goal of 230.

"We had about 773, total," Parknowitz said. "We'd been aiming to have enough to give to the entire company. We ended up having enough for the whole battalion."

The knitters included personalized messages of prayer, love and support with each cap. In February Sharron drove to Fort Campbell, Ky., the 101st Airborne's base, to deliver the goods.

Contact the reporter at dmeurer@prescottaz.com