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Pay It Forward: Crocheting for kids and patients

Crocheting for a cause, where she saw a need. KIDK Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz met a woman recently who lives on a fixed income and yet gives back to the community one “lapghan” at a time. A “lapghan” is a crocheted afghan that is the size of a lap blanket.

Nadine Kuehler was born in Soda Springs and grew up in Grace. She began attending Idaho State University in 1968 and later got a job in food services at Caribou Memorial Hospital in Soda Springs.

“Retirement hasn’t been too bad for me,” said Kuehler.

In fact, it’s in retirement where Kuehler is arguably making the biggest impact.

“I feel like it’s a big need. And so, I’ve enjoyed it,” said Kuehler.

It’s her talent for crocheting. She makes “lapghans” and donates them to those in need.

“Well, I’ve been donating them to the hospital the last few years, then this past year, I was thinking about the kids that are in foster care and how neglected sometimes they are. So I just decided to do that, but instead of going to health and welfare, I went to the school directly,” said Kuehler.

“You just donated them right to the school?” asked Kunz.

“Mmm-mmm,” said Kuehler.

She went directly to Head Start, Green Acres, and Washington Elementary.

“I gave them each about 20,” said Kuehler.

“Twenty blankets to three schools,” asked Kunz.

“Yeah,” said Kuehler.

That was her Christmas to-do list, but she’s been making the “lapghans” for about three years. You’d think it’s a lot of work.

“No, it’s because I see so much neglect, not only on TV, but when I go out and see these children in public, like Walmart when it’s cold. I’ve seen parents take their little ones in there with no coat and no blanket and no socks on their feet. I’ve even seen it happening in church. Yep,” said Kuehler.

Kuehler said she can make three per week. It’s certainly not cheap. People have donated materials in the past and she keeps an eye on the sales, but she said three skeins of bargain yarn go for about $10. So it’s time to “Pay It Forward.”

“I get where I sometimes don’t have to look at it to get it done, if I haven’t missed any spots,” said Kuehler.

“Nadine, how are you?” asked a man, opening her front door, and walking right in.

“Good,” Kuehler replied.

“Good. I’m Kory with Mountain America Credit Union,” said the man.

“Ohhh,” said Kuehler.

“And we’ve heard a lot about what you’ve been doing the last couple years, couple months, and all the blankets you’ve been making for the hospital and the elementary kids, and I am here today to ‘Pay It Forward.’ So I have brought with me today, $500 in cash,” said Carling.

“Oh my gosh,” said Kuehler, quietly.

“That I would like to present to you on behalf of Mountain America Credit Union and ‘Pay It Forward.’ And we know that you are going to be able to put it toward good use and continue to impact a lot of the families in our community,” continued Carling.

“Oh, man,” Kuehler quietly said.

“And provide more blankets for some more families. So on behalf of Mountain America Credit Union, we would like to Pay It Forward to you. Thank you,” said Carling.

“Thank you very much. I guess this will be the legacy I leave behind in 20 years. Well, I do enjoy it. Thank you guys very much,” said Kuehler.

“You’re welcome. You’re doing awesome. Awesome stuff,” said Carling, feeling one of the afghans.

Kuehler said she is on a deadline. Her next goal is to make 20 “lapghans” by Valentine’s Day and donate them to Portneuf Medical Center in Pocatello.

“Pay It Forward” airs the second Wednesday of every month. If you know of a nonprofit organization or someone who deserves to be recognized for their contributions to the area, click on “Pay It Forward” on the right side of our website and fill out the form, or send an email to KIDK Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz at

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