Stitched together: Longtime friends sew special memories

Kathy Hurla, left, and Pat Stallbaumer are longtime friends and Presbyterian Manor volunteers whose passion for helping others has stitched them together.

Kathy Hurla, left, and Pat Stallbaumer are longtime friends and Presbyterian Manor volunteers whose passion for helping others has stitched them together.

Kathy Hurla and Pat Stallbaumer’s friendship spans nearly half a century, and their bond has been stitched together more than 30 of those years by special time they spend together every week at Topeka Presbyterian Manor.

“We went to church together at St. Aloysius in Meridan. My youngest at the time was in Kindergarten, and all her kids were in school, too,” said Kathy. “We signed up with some kind of neighborhood outreach program to do volunteer work, and they matched up with Presbyterian Manor. We initially started visiting residents who didn’t have any family members, but then once they discovered we were quilters, the sewing group took off from there.”

Pat and Kathy have been coming to Presbyterian Manor nearly every Wednesday morning for three decades, and their sewing group has ebbed and flowed from one to 14 members.

“We have a pretty informal group. Residents who are interested in sewing can come join us, and we mostly make lap robes, which are like small quilts. All of our material is donated. We just keep making them, and once everyone here has one, we find others who might need them,” Kathy said.

“We’ve donated them to other nursing homes and even to children with special needs. Some members have given them to grandchildren as baby blankets.”

Even though Pat and Kathy generously give of their time and talents every week, they feel like the ones who are getting something in return.

“We love it and miss it if we can’t be here for some reason,” Kathy said. “We’re all like family. We talk and laugh and reminisce. We even bring a birthday cake, or cookies, or whatever the resident requests to celebrate with them.”

We appreciate Pat and Kathy for their dedication and all their contributions over the last 30 years.