Hyde government continues Hat Project

Published 3:18 pm Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Hat Project began two years ago when Gloria Spencer, then Hyde County’s Department of Social Services director, was having cancer treatments in Greenville at the Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center and Eastern Radiology.

One chilly evening when she was leaving her treatment at the medical center, she encountered an elderly patient who was clearly very cold as she waited for the bus. Spencer immediately handed the woman her own hat and scarf.

After telling her story to some of the county employees, they got together and asked the Mattamuskeet Senior Center for assistance.

Several county employees, senior center clients and ladies in the community came together and crocheted 64 hats for Spencer to take with her to Greenville for the chemo-radiation patients. All of the hats were given to patients in need. The senior center donated many skeins of yarn for the project.

When Spencer passed away in October, the Hat Project was revisited by several of the county employees. They thought it would be a nice gesture to have hats donated in Spencer’s memory.

Originally they were trying to get at least 32 hats crocheted, one for every year that Spencer worked for Hyde County. The Hat Project snowballed, and a total of 109 hats were donated to the project.

Hyde County Human Resources Director Tammy Blake delivered the hats on Dec. 7 to the Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center and Eastern Radiology in Greenville and the Marion L. Shepard Cancer Center in Washington.

A gentleman was standing at the counter at the Jenkins Cancer Center and overheard the conversation concerning the hats being donated. He told Blake that he had lost his wife two weeks before, and he really appreciated the donation of the hats and what it would mean to other cancer patients. The hats were given at a much-needed time, since the weather has recently turned much cooler.

Janet Midgett of Engelhard, Cindy Carawan of Scranton and Tammy Blake of Belhaven made most of the hat donations. Debbie Cahoon, Soil & Water District administrator, made tags to go on each of the hats that read: “In loving memory of Gloria Spencer, served as Hyde County Department of Social Services director from 1982 to 2015.” The tags were attached to the hats with purple ribbon.

Many thanks to those who spent countless hours crocheting and knitting hats, the yarn donations and other acts of service that helped make this project successful.

It shows how much Spencer meant to the residents of Hyde County, and her memory will be with them in the years to come.