Spreading the warmth

Mary Esther Marin, top right, talks with fellow quilters at Laurel Ridge Heathcare. (Courtesy photo)

By Tonya Fennell: CNJ staff writer

On a summer day earlier this year, Mary Esther Marin paid a visit to a good friend in a local nursing home who was recovering from a broken hip.

Marin said her friend requested a blanket to fend off a chill, and in that moment she embarked on a crusade to spread warmth to other nursing home residents.

Utilizing the crocheting skills learned at the feet of her grandmother as a young child, Marin set out to make lap blankets for the residents of Laurel Ridge Healthcare.

“I just felt so sorry for them,” she said. “So, I got the idea to make the lap blankets.”

The longtime Clovis resident, who is quick to offer an endearing smile, a kind word or a warm hug, spent more than 200 hours crocheting colorful yarn into lap-size afghan blankets. Using the knowledge she acquired in a color theory class she took in college, Marin chose an array of hues for her yarn blankets. “I’m good at putting colors together,” she said. “I’ve got an eye for it.”

The skilled crocheter said she spent approximately three nights working on each blanket.

“I crocheted while I was watching the news,” Marin said. “I can’t just sit and do nothing or I will fall asleep.” Besides crocheting, Marin said she is also skilled at knitting and tatting.

Marin’s labor of love resulted in 20 striped, rainbow-hued afghans, which she recently hand-delivered to the nursing home. The male residents chose from brown and green blankets, while the women opted for blue, pink or purple afghans.

“They (residents) were so happy to get to choose,” Marin said.

Brad Mahan, pastor of Grace Fellowship church where Marin is a member, assisted in the blanket distribution. Mahan described Marin as a phenomenal and intelligent woman who attends church faithfully.

“She loves the word of God,” Mahan said, “and she is in church every time the doors open.”

Besides the blanket ministry, Mahan said Marin also spends two days a month visiting hospital patients and keeps the church’s financial records in order.

“She is a certified chaplain,” Mahan said, “and a prayer warrior.”

With her stylishly cut cap of cinnamon-colored hair, smooth skin and minimalist make-up, Marin looks far younger than her 79 years. The mother of seven and grandmother of 10, who has run an income tax service for 53 years, said staying busy keeps her young.

“I love to do things,” she said. “It keeps me limber.”