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Dracut Cub Scout Generates Warmth with ‘Blankets for the Brave’

Mar 11, 2019 01:21AM ● By Lisa Redmond

Dracut Cub Scout P.J. Arcidiacono and Dracut Veteran’s Service Agent Jeffrey Hollett are surrounded by more than 100 fleece blankets donated as part of “Blankets for the Brave.’’ Courtesy photo by Robyn Arcidiacono.

Dracut Cub Scout P.J. Arcidiacono proudly displays the 101 blanket he collected for “Blankets for the Bave.’’ Courtesy photo by Robyn Arcidiacono.

 DRACUT – When 9-year-old P.J. Arcidiacono needed a project to earn his Cub Scouts Bear “Duty to God” patch his inspirations were his grandmother, an avid knitter of blankets, and his late grandfather, a World War II veteran.

The Englesby Elementary School student spent the past four weeks collecting fleece blankets as part of his “Blankets for the Brave’’ program. So far, the enthusiastic third-grader has collected more than 100 brightly-colored fleece blankets that are piled high in Dracut’s Veteran’s Services Agent Jeffrey Hollet’s office at the Council on Aging.

“I’m happy,’’ P.J. said of the donations. “I plan on doing this every year.’’

The focus on blankets was due, in part, to his grandmother’s love of crochet. “She was making some blankets and P.J. wanted to give them to the veterans,’’ said P.J.’s mother, Robyn Arcidiacono. Her son chose veterans because he has a strong interest in military history due to his late grandfather’s service in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

P.J. and his mother contacted Hollett, who they met at a Veterans Day ceremony. Hollett suggested the” Blankets for the Brave” program, which collects new fleece blankets for the brave men and women in the military who are stationed overseas.

P.J. learned that fleece blankets can be used for warmth and privacy. Fleece blankets are preferred because they are flame retardant and water proof.

Throughout February, P.J. blanketed the town with fliers that explained the program and asked people to donate new fleece blankets and/or donate money to pay for postage to mail the blankets.

With the help of his parents, Robyn and Dan, and his 7-year-old sister Marina, also a Cub Scout, P.J. spent hours decorating large containers that were used as collection boxes for the blankets. P.J. received permission to place the boxes in the Town Clerk’s Office, the Council on Aging, Christ Church United, St. Francis Parish, the Dracut Library and the Dracut Police Station during February.

As a result of his efforts, 101 colorful fleece blankets of all sizes and ranging in price from $4 to $25 were donated.

P.J. has decided to donate some of the blankets to Dracut’s needy and the remainder will be shipped to soldiers, he said.

Most of the collection boxes have been removed, but the box at Hollett’s office at the Council on Aging, 951 Mammoth Road, will stay to keep the blanket drive going.

P.J. will have to wait for the Boy Scout banquet on March 23 to receive his community service patch, but he is already enjoying the warm feeling of a job well done.

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