The Maryville Merry Makers are just that, a fun group that shares in its adoration and collection of Hallmark ornaments.

But, there’s more on their minds as the icy winds of winter approach.

The club, which numbers 30, completed a few fundraisers recently, collecting $500.

Members knew how they were going to spend the money — by purchasing necessities for Blount County’s homeless and needy veterans.

Rabekah Gramlich serves as the club president.

She said the money was spent on jackets, gloves, blankets, socks and sleeping bags, items the local Department of Veterans Services Office said it could use to help those veterans who might struggle this winter.

Steve Marlovits and his wife, Kathy, are members of Maryville Merry Makers. He is an Air Force veteran of the Vietnam War. He said his club previously donated to the Department of Veterans Services here in Blount County of which Nathan Weinbaum is director.

The last few times, members donated food for the pantry operated at by the Veterans Services Office at the courthouse, Steve said. But when asked what the greatest needs were, Weinbaum mentioned the jackets, blankets and other warm weather gear. The club took that to heart.

In addition to all of the gear the Maryville Merry Makers was able to purchase, Smokey Mountain Feed and Pet Supply in Alcoa donated a load of dog and cat food for veterans, too.

All of the supplies were delivered on Tuesday afternoon to the courthouse.

Gramlich and the others said they will definitely do this again. Steve said he hopes this encourages others to do the same.

Melanie joined The Daily Times in the early 90s and has served as the Life section editor since 1993. A William Blount and UT alum, Melanie is generally the early arriver who turns on the lights in the newsroom.

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