Manhattan woman who made a quilt for RCPD uses hobby for sobriety

Local News

MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT)– A Manhattan woman is showing her appreciation for the Riley County Police Department with a quilt, but her journey to quilting was a tough battle.

Their friendship started with a phone call when Janet Webster’s phone started ringing from a scammer. Not knowing what to do, she went straight to Derek McKee.

“I’m pretty brazen,” Janet said. “You don’t usually just walk up to a police officer and knock on the window and hand them your phone and say help.”

Detective McKee was still on patrol when he and Janet crossed paths.

“The scammer was on the phone trying to get her information,” Detective Derek said. “So I just basically hung up the phone and helped her block the number.”

Since July, the two now call each other friends, and it goes farther than just your average phone call here and there.

Janet does something for them, making a quilt for the police department. All thanks to her mom, Janet started learning how to make quilts when she was young, but she didn’t know how to fully finish them. That wasn’t the only thing she hadn’t finished, just yet. She decided to complete her education by getting a college degree when she was in her 50s. It wasn’t easy. While she was in school tragedy struck her and her family.

“And I wanted to quit and give up,” Janet said.

She lost her oldest son to alcoholism, which she then got into.

“After I’d lost my son, in ’02, I got to drinking real heavy,” Janet said. “And I was a full blown alcoholic.”

Janet didn’t quilt while she was drinking. She said every day, from 2002 to 2008, was consumed in alcohol.

“The day my mother got me to the ER, they told me one more drink and I’d be dead,” Janet said.

That’s when Janet knew she needed to get back to what her mom taught her, quilting.

“I’m lucky to be alive. That’s the whole truth,” Janet said laughing.

Staying sober for almost 11 years making more than 200 quilts for fun and for other law enforcement agencies. Making a special one for her friend, Detective McKee.

“He helped me,” Janet said. “He took time. He took an interest. And he cared.”

The Riley County Police Department got this quilt last Tuesday. Janet will surprise a few other law enforcement agencies. She plans to make a quilt for the police departments K-9’s.

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