Robinson, Ill.,
09:19 PM

'Hooked' on a new skill to give back

When Melody Rinker, accounting supervisor at Marathon Petroleum Corporation’s (MPC’s) refinery in Robinson, Ill., issued a call for help in crocheting hats for babies housed in hospital intensive-care units (ICUs), several other employees responded. Though willing, they had a major challenge ahead of them. “Most of us had never even held a crochet hook,” explains Jackie Leland, former controller at the refinery and now an M&TE supervisor in Findlay, Ohio. “Tonja Sheets [advanced analytical processor] helped teach us how to crochet.”

Rinker and her volunteers then took their new skills and proceeded to work at home, on lunch breaks, and even meeting up at each other’s houses for an occasional “crochet party.” In two months’ time, they crocheted about 80 tiny hats. Rinker then packed up the colorful creations to warm the tiny heads of babies at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis; St. Louis Children’s Hospital; and Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

The crochet project is one of several initiatives inspired by Rinker as a way of giving back for the kindness and care given to her two-year-old twins, who were born with a rare disorder. In the midst of this hat project, Rinker found herself in the ICU with the twins. “I looked around and realized we were in the very environment where the hats were being used,” she recalls. “We have been blessed by so many helping hands, and it felt like a good way to give back. And with so many co-workers helping out, we were able to make an even bigger impact.”