It was a busy day for Lucile Koffarnus this past Thursday, Dec. 2. The Ahwatukee Foothills resident celebrated her 101st birthday at La Estancia Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and had some unexpected guests there to surprise her.

Koffarnus had been knitting and crocheting different items for an organization called American Angels, which ships a variety of garments to the men and women of all four military branches stationed overseas. Two local Marines visited La Estancia on Thursday with a certificate of thanks for Koffarnus and a unique gift for the longtime Green Bay Packer fan.

Michael La Shay, a Packer fan himself, brought a signed autographed from Saint Vince, the only fan ever inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. La Shay met Koffarnus last year when he delivered the certificate to say thanks.

"When I was invited to go this year, I felt that I had to go a little farther," he said. "Last year, I noticed she was a big fan so it was nice to be able to do this for her for everything she has done for us."

Koffarnus has knitted and crocheted the last two years for American Angels, which shipped about 2,300 items to soldiers overseas this year. She started knitting for soldiers during the First World War and has continued ever since.

"My husband worked at a plant where there were soldiers and one day they asked for volunteers," Koffarnus said. "I said I'll try. So I knitted socks and mittens and gloves. If you named it, I would make it."

Koffarnus admits that she is a bit slower now when it comes to knitting and crocheting, but that won't hold her back from producing goods for American soldiers.

"It is very pleasant that people appreciate what you do for the veterans because there are some people who ignore it and it hurts me," she said. "I do a little bit every day if I can and it may take me longer, but it gets done."

As for the piece of Packer memorabilia, Koffarnus said it will fit nicely in her collection, which has been growing since the inception of the team in 1919.

"I lived in Green Bay when they organized the club," she said. "So I have a lot of memorabilia from following them all the way."

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