Volunteer's skills keep newborns' heads warm
Dublin Retirement Village Program Director Beth Baker (left) and Dublin Methodist Hospital volunteer Phyllis Calle (right) present resident Maryellan Krenek with an honorary volunteer award from Dublin Methodist Hospital. Krenek has crocheted more than 1,000 baby hats for the hospital in the past year. Buy This Photo
In the past year every newborn has left Dublin Methodist Hospital with a piece of work from Maryellan Krenek.
The seven-year Dublin Retirement Village resident has crocheted more than 1,000 hats for newborns at the hospital in the last year, a feat that earned her an "honorary volunteer" award from the hospital.
"I've been crocheting since I was 8," the 84-year-old said, adding her aunt taught her a few things then she learned the rest with a book.
The former Columbus resident and owner of the Goodie Shop in Upper Arlington is used to keeping busy and crocheting hats helps.
"If she's not helping somewhere, she's here crocheting hats for me," said Dublin Methodist Hospital volunteer Phyllis Calle.
Calle puts the crocheted hats into packages for new mothers and came to the Dublin Retirement Village last year in search of someone to make hats.
"I thought there would be people over here sitting around needing something to do," Calle said.
And Krenek is happy for the task. It takes her 30-45 minutes to crochet one baby hat that fits all sizes.
"It's fun and you feel like you're doing something," Krenek said.
Finding Krenek was a stroke of luck.
"It's hard to find those who still know how to do it," said Dublin Retirement Village Program Director Beth Baker, adding arthritis keeps some from knitting or crocheting.
"Maryellan contributes an afghan to our raffle every year," Baker said.
Krenek also keeps busy in other ways.
"I play bingo and euchre and volunteer if they need help," she said.
"She's very helpful with other residents who can't do something themselves," Baker added.
Krenek's crochet skills extend to names, blankets, clothing and other items. She picked the hobby back up a few years ago.
"I came here in 2006. In 2007, my husband died. My dog died in 2008," she said. "I thought, 'What am I doing here?' So I started crocheting."
Crocheting also helps the lifetime Weight Watchers member maintain her weight. If her hands are busy crocheting, she can keep her 140-pound weight loss.
Crocheting hats has also given Krenek a new friend.
She tells Calle, of Plain City, to stop by as often as she likes and Calle frequently does so to pick up hats or go yarn shopping.
Calle is also planning to teach Krenek to knit and she will learn crocheting in turn.
"I'd like them to do a class," Baker said.