A woman in a colonia near Donna, Texas, proudly holds up a blanket she received for Christmas through TBM. It was one of four crocheted by the late Doris Denton of Crestview Baptist Church in Georgetown.

Gifts of love find new homes in Rio Grande Valley

GEORGETOWN – Christmas is the gift-giving season, and some gifts have a rich story behind them. Such is the case with a gift given by a Georgetown man for Texas Baptist Men’s Christmas mission effort.

Don Denton and others at Crestview Baptist Church in Georgetown learned that people in the Rio Grande Valley needed blankets to help them keep warm this winter. Denton had extras, so he gave four of them for the TBM project.

Jim Kneale, a TBM Disaster Relief chaplain, said Denton asked if crocheted blankets were acceptable. Kneale responded that such a gift would be great and much appreciated.

Kneale did not know at the time, but Denton’s wife had passed away two years earlier.

Denton, 91, still has some of the blankets made by his wife, Doris, who died two days before her 82nd birthday.

“My wife passed away a couple of years ago, and she did all kinds of crocheting,” Denton said. “I got to looking around the house, and there were several of those blankets. I thought there could be no better use” if they can “keep people warm.”

Kneale said: “Here is a man who recently lost his wife and is willing to donate blankets she hand-crocheted to keep others warm. In my family, those types of items usually are handed down from generation to generation, you know, kept in the family.”

Kim Rose, the Dentons’ daughter, said: “Dad is a wonderful and generous man, both with his time and energy. Mom would have been thrilled to know ‘those old blankets’ would be of use to someone. She was always making things to give to others. They are a beautiful example of Christ's love in action.”

The largest blanket would fit a queen size bed, and the others varied in size down to one about 5 by 3 feet, Denton said.

Crocheting was something Doris did “all her life. She usually kept a bag of yarn by her chair” to crochet whenever she had an opportunity, he said. “She would give them to whoever wanted them.”

Don Denton simply continued the giving pattern by giving four more away for people in the Rio Grande Valley.

“I still have some blankets left,” he said. “They’re just part of the household around here.”

Denton said his wife loved the Lord. She also was a former schoolteacher, teaching high school “just off the edge of the Apache nation reservation” in Arizona. About 85% percent of her students lived on the reservation.

Now, the work of her hands will provide warmth for some residents in the Valley.

Denton became a TBM Disaster Relief volunteer after his wife died. “When she passed away I really had a hard time and went to a grief share program,” Denton said. “They said to get up and do things”

Crestview “has a lot of options of things to do,” he added, noting he has worked in both rebuild and box unit TBM Disaster Relief teams.

He learned about the Valley needs in his Sunday school class. Charles Baker, who coordinates Crestview’s TBM involvement, also is in the class taught by Marty Krueger and said the group gave about 20 blankets for the Christmas project.

Baker described the 91-year-old Denton as the “Energizer bunny for some of our projects.” Baker tells others in their 70s or 60s: “If Don can do this, you can do this.” And laughs.

When Baker conveys a need to the church’s TBM volunteers, it’s usually only a matter of seconds before Denton responds, Baker said. “Don can work us under the table.”

Denton simply said, “My age is a big laughing point.”

Still, after all these years, he works and he gives.

Photo above: Don Denton holds one of the blankets crocheted by his wife, Doris.

Photo below: A Rio Grande Valley family poses with one of the blankets crocheted by Doris Denton.