Grand Lake woman provides this unlikely countywide resource for first responders

Meet the local woman who has gifted 850 blankets

Mary Ann Knowski stands by the blankets she and two other woman made for first responders in Grand County. Her group Cozy Blankets has made 850 blankets for local first responders in the last six years.
Tara Alatorre/Sky-Hi News

A blanket is not a tool that comes to mind when thinking of a first responder’s toolbox. Despite the humble blanket being overlooked as something that police, firefighters and EMTs need when responding to emergencies, it is an absolute necessity – especially in High Country when the weather can turn on a dime.

Grand Lake resident Mary Ann Knowski understands the importance of providing comfort to individuals who are facing anything from a roadside emergency to a tragedy. To date, she has provided local first responders with 850 blankets through her group Cozy Blankets. This is her sixth year making blankets in Grand County along with two other woman, Debbie Beacom and Sandi Macy.

“You should see my house when we’re making them, I’ve got blankets stacked everywhere,” Knowski said.

Some of the blankets that were donated to first responders this year.
Tara Alatorre/Sky-Hi News

Although, Knowski has provided Grand County’s first responders with almost 900 blankets, the number is actually far greater because she started making blankets 21 years ago in Farmington, New Mexico, while she was a nurse at a hospital there. While working as a nurse, she recognized the simple comfort a blanket could provide to children and adults dealing with traumatic experiences.

Cozy Blankets provides Granby Police Department, Grand County Sheriff’s Office, Grand County EMS and the fire departments with blankets every summer. The group gives each first responder six blankets to keep in their agency vehicle, and most blankets have a fun print or design that kids will enjoy.

It takes about two hours to complete a blanket. One hour to cut it and one hour to construct the 42-by-60-inch blanket. Cozy Blankets has simplified the process by cutting out the sewing, instead they strategically tie the blanket together to make large decorative fringed ends.

Granby’s Chief of Police David Shaffer was at the police station to greet Knowski this year when she dropped off the blankets at the station Sept. 6. He explains that tragedies come with an unlimited set of circumstances and they use the blankets more frequently than people might think.

“It certainly provides a degree of comfort,” Shaffer said. “It is truly a countywide resource.”

Mary Ann Knowski stands in the center of first responders that have gathered take blankets that she made. First responders will keep the blankets in their agency vehicles.
Tara Alatorre/Sky-Hi News

Not only does Knowski provide blankets to the agencies in Grand County, she also makes blankets for the Hope House in Arvada, where she spends her winters. Hope House provides self-sufficiency programs for teen moms.

If you would like to donate to Cozy Blankets you can make a monetary donation by contacting Because certain fabrics are needed to make the blankets, Knowski does not accept fabric donations.

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