Thursday, 02 April 2020 12:22

Yellow Ribbons: Meet the “Yellow Ribbon Lady”

Yellow Ribbon Lady, Carol Pingelski Hotaling with Senator James Tedisco. Photo courtesy of the office of James Tedisco. Yellow Ribbon Lady, Carol Pingelski Hotaling with Senator James Tedisco. Photo courtesy of the office of James Tedisco.

HALFMOON — Carol Pingelski Hotaling started to honor New York State Yellow Ribbon Day in 2006. The day was selected to honor and remember active troops and the daily sacrifices they make. The New York State Legislature began to honor Yellow Ribbon Day on April 9 of each year through the passing of a resolution. Her goal now is to make the resolution to not only be for NYS, but nationwide. Here is her story and how the yellow ribbon making began. 

Who: Carol Pingelski Hotaling, 78-years-old, Halfmoon resident.

“I just sit here and make bows I don’t get involved with anything else except my troops. Every single day I make them,” Hotaling said. 

How it all got started: Hotaling has made thousands of hand crafted yellow ribbon bows for the past 30 years.

“It’s all about current troops, that’s what Yellow Ribbon Day is all about,” Hotaling said. “I started making yellow bows in 1990, Desert Storm. In 2004, my sister lives in Ohio and she kept telling me about a Matt Maupin, the first prisoner of war captured in the Iraq War. I said I wanted to meet Matt’s parents so she contacted them and I talked with them. In 2006 I went to their program called Yellow Ribbon Support Center in Cincinnati Ohio for six weeks and I volunteered. It was the first time I flew and probably the last and I stayed there. Their first banquet was that year and was at the Oasis Country Club in Loveland, Ohio. I made over 1000 bows for that banquet. When I got off the plane in Albany that day, I said to myself I got to do than make bows and do fundraisers for our troops, so I started NYS Yellow Ribbon Day.”

Helping Hands: Hotaling said the VFW in Ballston Spa buys all the ribbons each year to distribute through the town and stores. This year they purchased Hotaling 72 rolls of ribbon with 100 yards per roll to create the ribbons for Ballston Spa. 

“One year they had to buy me a $1000 worth because I ran out. They came this past Monday and picked up 80 bows, so the town of Ballston spa will have 80 bows. I’m now making them for the town of Clifton Park because every year they get filled with bows for yellow ribbon day,” Hotaling said. 

Moving Forward: As April 9 Yellow Ribbon Day starts in Hotaling’s room creating the ribbons, it has since expanded from Saratoga County to Halfmoon, Ballston Spa and Clifton Park. However, Hotaling doesn’t want to stop just there, her goal is to pass a resolution to recognize the date nation wide. 

“We have to make sure it’s all about current troops because that’s what it’s all about they don’t have a day of their own so that’s what I’m fighting for. That was our number one priority in this world before this virus was the troops. They’re out there every day for you and I. I’m trying to get it passed nation wide. It’s my last bucket list item I need to do before I die, I’ve done everything else I set out to do,” Hotaling said. 

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