Two dedicated and special ladies in the community have been donating warm and colorful knitted hats to all babies born at Sierra View Medical Center for more than 15 years.
Sisters JoAnn Miske, 84 and Tennessee Joi Leach “Joi”, 86, of Porterville hand knit beautiful hats that are given to newborn babies before they head home from Sierra View Medical Center’s Birth Center. The sisters started donating hats monthly in 2003 and have made more than 5,500 with their own hands. Each hat has colorful material fibers that are carefully selected by the sisters. JoAnn gives the color combination credit to Joi while Joi gives praise to her sister for her talent in making the finishing touches so quickly and for teaching her how to perfect the hats.
They started making hats for all newborns at Sierra View when someone from the SVMC Volunteer League reached out to them in a craft class held in one of the local churches in Porterville.
The sisters are originally from Long Beach. Joi moved to Porterville in 1975 and raised a family here, and JoAnn made the move in 1998. How they interact, complementing each other and cracking sisterly jokes together really speaks about their character and is inspirational. When they talk about these hats and the love they have for making them is heartwarming. They aren’t boastful, they simply like making them and knowing that they’re touching the hearts of new mothers and their newborn babies.