ZIONSVILLE, Ind. – It started off as a hobby his wife enjoyed, and now Clayton Shelburne is making blankets on his own after her death.
The 88-year-old Indiana man has already made several dozen blankets, supplying enough for one to go with every patrol car with the Zionsville Police Department and the Boone County Sheriff’s Office.
“I just felt there was a need,” Shelburne told WXIN. He said he remembered one story about a father leaving his sleeping son in a broken-down vehicle along a highway while the father went to get help.
Police said the blankets would go a long way.
“We could show up to a crash and the weather could be like it is now where it’s nice and cold and that blanket will come in real handy when you wrap it around somebody in need,” said Sgt. Adrian Martin of the Zionsville Police Department.
Shelburne said his wife first started making blankets with a camping club, which would donate the blankets to different organizations in the area. Clayton joined in and the couple made blankets together for about ten years.
“She was the seamstress,” he said. “I was never a seamstress. This is a new ballgame because I was always an outside person.”
Clayton’s wife, Delores, died in May of 2015.
“My time is nothing,” said Shelburne. “I’m 88 years old, I can do this when it’s raining outside and I enjoy doing it. I’m sure if my wife was here she would be happy I’m doing this too.”
Shelburne decided to help police in his county after talking with his son, who is an officer in Zionsville.
“For an individual, a civilian for that matter, to take it upon themselves to not only take their time and invest their money and their personal stake into a product or event that benefits any law enforcement agency, particularly Zionsville, we appreciate that,” Martin said.
Shelburne plans to make more when police run out and is already making new batches for the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital. He already has a dozen ready to go.
“I may have bitten off more than I can chew,” said a laughing Shelburne. “I’m going to keep doing it as long as I got some money to make blankets, and I’m sure there’s a need for it over there.”
Shelburne said he spends very little of his own money making the blankets. Most of the funds come from friends, family and others who hear about his work and want to contribute.