Crookston teen donates logo to the initiative, then the BYRC donates crocheted floor mats made out of plastic grocery bags to GF Vet Center

    The agenda for Thursday’s meeting of the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Crookston Committee at city hall contained a couple of particularly inspiring items.

    First off, a Crookston teen donated her 4-H project, a uniquely designed and crafted logo of the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon initiative, to the committee. Then, the committee paid it forward when it donated mats crafted out of hundreds and hundreds of plastic grocery bags to the Grand Forks Vet Center, with the idea that struggling and or homeless veterans will have something to lay on besides the floor or ground.
Lessard’s logo

    Brylee Lessard, 15, and her older sister, Jordan Lessard, 17, (daughters of Dave and Melanie Lessard) since last summer have been making quite a name for themselves with their unique Polk County 4-H projects, which have won numerous accolades and advanced to the Minnesota State Fair. Last week, Jordan donated her Crookston Gun Club logo to the club, and at Thursday’s BYRC meeting, Brylee donated her Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Crookston logo to the committee.

    “It’s just gorgeous,” said Jamie Cassavant.

    Built on a plywood support frame constructed by her dad, Brylee bought more than 2,000 miniature toy plastic soldiers, spray-painted them blue and yellow, and secured them to the wooden frame. The yellow ribbon logo is situated in the middle of a blue outline of the state of Minnesota.

    Cassavant said the BYRC is looking to include Lessard’s logo on their float in this year’s Ox Cart Days Torchlight Parade.

    “This is just amazing and you are an awesome young lady,” Cassavant told Lessard in the city hall conference room. “Thank you for your patriotism and awareness of issues in our community.”

    Brylee estimated that it took her 12 hours to finish the project.

Plastic bag mats

    Camille Redmann of the Grand Forks Vet Center attended Thursday’s BYRC meeting to accept the donation of five floor mats made out of plastic grocery bags. The BYRC has a half-dozen more finished, and committee members told Redmann that if she needs more to contact them.

    Each mat, 3 feet by 6 feet in size, takes around 700 plastic bags, Bill Cassavant said. He said a group of BYRC members gather periodically at the Crookston VFW to cut the handles and bottoms off each bag, cut the remaining plastic portion into strips, make a roll out of the strips and then tie them together.

    Then Lynette Young takes over, meticulously crocheting the plastic strips into the mats.

    “They’re surprisingly soft, much better than laying on the ground,” Redmann noted. “These are really awesome.”

    Bill Cassavant added that the handles and bottoms that are initially cut off are utilized as well by being made into small pillow cases.

    Jamie Cassavant said the idea for the plastic bag mats was inspired by Pinterest.

    “Hopefully these will give some degree of comfort,” she said. “That was our purpose.”