03 Veteran knits hats for donations

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CNN  — 

Tom Cornish, a 96-year-old World War II veteran, continues to serve his country decades later by knitting and donating hundreds of hats to the Salvation Army.

Cornish, who lives at the Champlin Shores senior living community in Minnesota, took to knitting hats during the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, the veteran donated 400 handmade hats to the Salvation Army and continues to knit daily with plans to donate all of his handiwork.

“Well they need a lot of hats and you got to have donors for that,” Cornish told CNN about what inspired him to begin knitting hats for the Salvation Army.

Cornish was a Navy man during World War II and upon returning to the US, raised five children and was active in volunteer work with his late wife, Marvel. Since her passing, Cornish continued to find ways to give back to his community.

As the coronavirus pandemic took hold last year, Cornish’s daughter introduced him to a hat knitting kit. Cornish, whose knitting hobby began over 20 years ago, found the kit intriguing. He began knitting hats and it eventually led to his one-man knitting operation. He’s able to knit up to two hats a day and has even taught some of his fellow residents and nursing staff at Champlin Shores how to knit.

When asked what he enjoys the most about knitting, Cornish told CNN, “other people are getting something out of my labor. It’s better than playing cards or looking out the window.”

As a veteran, donating to the Salvation Army holds a special place in Cornish’s heart, who never once considered selling his hats.

As the winter season winds down, Cornish is preparing to begin knitting baby hats which he intends to also donate to the Salvation Army. Cornish said he hopes to continue knitting, “until I take my last breath.”

Cornish, who said he has been fully vaccinated for Covid-19, also had a message for others about getting vaccinated, saying, “I feel that everybody should do it, not take a chance.”