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Howard Bch. woman crochets for war dead

Meade, who lives in Howard Beach, is part of Heartmade Blessings, an online group that makes handcrafted blankets, cozies, shawls and other items for families who have suffered a tragedy. She joined the group after Sept. 11, 2001 in a desire to help people who were suffering. Meade has found comfort in her handiwork since the age of 17, when a congenital disorder confined her to a wheelchair. Though she had learned to crochet from her mother, it was not until she was in rehabilitation that she began to crochet more often.Thirty years later, Meade now specifically works on the group's project for families of slain soldiers who served in Iraq or Afghanistan, called Operation Purple Heart.Recently, after she learned about the Nov. 8, 2004 death of Lance Corporal Jeffrey Lam in Fallujah, Iraq, Meade decided she would spearhead a project to create an Afghan, or "comfortghan," for Lam's young widow, newborn son, and family in the Oakland Gardens section of Bayside."We hope people will get comfort from wrapping themselves in it and remember that people care," she said.The comfortghan was made of 12-inch crocheted squares sent to Meade from other members of Heartmade Blessings. Meade assembled the squares into a blanket and contacted Meilin Tan, a member of the Flushing-based Chinese American Military Families Association. Though Meade initially asked Tan to accept the comfortghan to deliver to the Lam family, Tan decided to arrange a special presentation of the comfortghan."I wanted to preserve the family's privacy, so I didn't ask (Tan) for their address, but she offered to introduce me so I could make the presentation in person," Meade said. The presentation took place Feb. 25 at a Flushing restaurant."It was not necessary for them to have a luncheon in order for me to present the Afghan, but it was really nice," she said. "But it was a little awkward not being able to speak in Chinese."Reach reporter Sophia Chang by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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