88-year-old man honors wife’s legacy by making blankets for children in need

What started as a hobby his wife enjoyed has now become a beautiful way for Clayton Shelburne of Indiana to both honor her legacy and leave a positive mark on the world.

Clayton and Dolores Shelburne were married for 66 years before she passed away in May 2015. Clayton told CBS 4 Indianapolis that his wife initially started making blankets with a camping club, which would donate them to different organizations in the area. As the years went on, however, it became an activity that the couple could enjoy together — with one key distinction.

“She was the seamstress,” he said. “I was never a seamstress. This is a new ballgame because I was always an outside person.”

In his wife’s absence, Clayton has found himself with the time and resources to continue the charitable activity on his own. He now wields a yardstick and scissors, carefully measuring playful fabric and cutting it into patterns.

“My time is nothing,” Shelburne told CBS 4. “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.”

In deciding what to do with the blankets when they’re done, Shelburne was particularly moved by a story about a father leaving his sleeping son in a vehicle along the highway while he went to get help with their broken-down car. It inspired him to help police in his county. So, he has now donated enough blankets to the Zionsville Police Department and the Boone County Sheriff’s Office that every patrol car can have one.

“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.

He’s given the officers more than three dozen homemade blankets so far.

“For an individual, a civilian for that matter, to take it upon themselves to not only to 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.

Now that he’s fully stocked the local police, Shelburne is turning his attention to the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis — further ensuring that his warm memories of his wife become a source of warmth for others as well.