Members of a Fort Bragg battalion may be spending Christmas in the Middle East, but they'll have stockings to hang, thanks to the employees of the sewing department of Hamrick Industries in Asheboro.

Donating time and material, Hamrick's employees cut and sewed nearly 600 red stockings to go to wives of the soldiers in the 913th Military Intelligence Battalion of the 82nd Airborne Division.The families will stuff the stockings with goodies and other items such as shaving cream, toothpaste and candy.

Danny Highfill, manager of the sewing plant, says his department always tries to do something to help people during the Christmas season, such as adopting a less fortunate family and buying presents for them from money the employees donate. In addition to that, he said, this year they wanted to do something for the men and women in the Persian Gulf.

Employees, working on their own time, put together 585 red stockings so each man in the battalion would have one for Christmas. They were sent to Fort Bragg Wednesday.

``This time of year people open their hearts,' said Highfill. ``They don't mind giving their time for somebody they don't know and probably will never meet ... to make Christmas a little brighter.'

In all, 22 people contributed about 200 hours to convert 170 yards of fabric into Christmas cheer.

Highfill said some of the sewers were especially excited about sending stockings to soldiers.

``I got a girl who says she's going to write her name on the bottom of all the stockings,' he said. ``She's a single girl.'

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