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Borderland veteran gifts more than 200 scarves to low-income vets

EL PASO, Texas -- Knitted with love, a scarf can be a lifeline.

"If you knew what it was like to be homeless or be cold, you'd understand how much this little-- this little piece of yarn can actually help you," said Tammi Say, who has gifted more than 200 scarves, all handmade, to homeless and low-income veterans.  

"It's just such a overwhelming feeling," She said. "when I can give it out to the veteran who has without question gone into the military and offered up their life for America."

Say comes from a long line of veterans in her family. She is a veteran herself, and spent one year in the California Air National Guard and eight years in the United States Air Force. The tireless work prepared her for a new challenge.

"I average about two inches an hour when I'm knitting," she said. "So on a 48 inch scarf, there's 24 hours worth of knitting. Approximate."

The project began as a good deed for one family. That led Say to Facebook, creating the page, 'Scarves for Homeless Veterans.'

Her initial goal of 200 scarves was easily surpassed, with help from friends and volunteers who shared her mission.

"It comes from the heart," said Mary Ontiveros, a volunteer with the project. "You don't know if they have food or clothing or even shelter. A little scarf that'll give them warmth and love from somebody that don't even know who they are. I think it's rewarding."

This month, Say provided two scarves for one veteran, who is not homeless, that she knew could use them.

"This one's going to be special for you," Say said to her friend, Lisa Kauffmann Sidranksy, receiving the gifts. "It's a hug from heaven when you need it."

Kauffmann Sidransky lost her son three years ago.

"When you don't have anybody to go home at night to anymore, something like this, this gesture can be, it's very meaningful to me," Kauffmann Sidransky said.

Now, people across the country are knitting their own scarves to send to Say. Each one has its own story.

"Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Vermont, Virginia, Florida, Massachusetts, Illinois," Say said. "The scarves came from everywhere."

You can follow along with the project by following Say's Facebook page here. Say is always looking for volunteers to knit their own scarf or donate yarn.

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Madeline Ottilie

Madeline Ottilie is a reporter on Good Morning El Paso and co-anchors ABC-7 at noon.

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