The lives of soldiers at Fort Drum will be brightened this week by vibrant yellow ribbons, courtesy of Rexford’s Carol Hotaling, known locally as the “Yellow Ribbon Lady.”
Hotaling has been making the ribbons for 27 years, and has, on occasion, teamed up with other groups, including the Blue Star Mothers of America, to support both veterans and enlisted soldiers.
Hotaling makes all the ribbons herself. Last year alone, she used 75 rolls of waterproof ribbon that cost a total of about $5,500, paid for by VFW Post 358 in Ballston Spa.
Hotaling’s ribbons can be found all over Southern Saratoga County, including Halfmoon, Ballston Spa, Malta, Saratoga Springs -- and in Watervliet in Albany County.
On Monday, Hotaling watched as the recently completed ribbons were loaded into a pickup truck for a three-hour journey to Fort Drum.
She wasn’t sure exactly how many she made, but more important than the number of ribbons is what they stand for: a reminder to all soldiers that they are appreciated.
“What this is really about is the troops," she said. "They’re the ones who are important. We can’t forget them, ever."
Jamie Margelot, a property manager for Nigro Companies in Albany, volunteered to drive the truck to Fort Drum. Margelot has, for the past few years, been assisting Hotaling with her ribbon endeavors and other efforts.
He said he knew Hotaling had been working on ribbons to send to Fort Drum but was shocked by the piles and piles she had waiting to be loaded into his truck.
“I’ve been working with Carol for a number of years. She doesn’t mess around,” Margelot said.