Do you know someone Paying It Forward in the community? Send your nominations to payitforward@wsav.com.

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Every so often you meet a person who leaves a lasting impression on your life, and when you part ways, you never think you will see that person again. 

Still, the impact they made on your life was unforgettable. That was recently the case with me.

Nearly 15 years ago, I met Argentina Grader, a hat maker who used her skills and talents to change people’s lives. A couple of weeks ago we ran into each other at a local grocery store. The reunion was awesome, and I was so delighted to find that today, Argentina is still paying it forward.

“And I’ll keep doing it as long as I can. Yes ma’am,” Argentina said.

Today, Argentina is bringing another batch of hats to the Infusion Center at the Lewis Cancer and Research Pavilion.

“Here, this is a beautiful one, and feel it. It’s so soft,” Argentina said.

For more than 15 years, the Savannah resident has been making hats for cancer patients here. It’s her way of giving back and making people happy during a time when they are facing probably the biggest challenges of their lives.

“When some of my friends lost their hair and I had the ability to knit, I started making it for friends,” Argentina said.

Grader came to Savannah 26 years ago. She was only 7 years old when she came to the United States and she didn’t speak English. 

She says she has always had a heart for people.  

Her parents taught her to live by the golden rule from the time she was a  child, and her desire to help people has grown into a lifelong mission.

“Right now I’m working on two hats one on the circular needle and one on the straight needle,” Argentina said. “Straight needle I can do very fast.  It takes me about six hours to do a hat if I work at it straight. One day I was walking here and a woman came and she had one of my hats on and she was so thrilled. She was hugging me and I had never seen her before, and she said oh thank you, I feel so good about myself.  So that’s what makes me continue knitting for people.”

Staff members and patients here know her face. And they are forever changed by her genuine acts of kindness. The need here in this community is tremendous and those on the receiving end of her gifts are grateful.

“She would always bring the beautiful hats and she would have broaches on them, real nice broaches,” said Wanda Akins, with the Lewis Cancer and Research Pavilion. “And we always put them on the hat tree. The patients would come and ask how much are the hats. We would say no they’re free because  they’re donated by a very nice lady.”

Grader says she loves donating the hats to people in need, even to those she will never meet.

“After all these years continuing to pay it forward to lift others. What does it truly mean to you? It makes my heart feel so good to give back, and I’m sorry, and thereby the grace of God, they’re alive because we never know when it’s going to hit somebody that you love and you know and then you lose them. So this is why I continue to do it. Because there are so many people out there that don’t have the money.”

Volunteerism is in her heart and her willingness to serve others unconditionally is making the world better, one hat at a time!

Argentina Grader is paying it forward.

Many times the cost of the hats come out of her pocket, but she says many people in the community have started to donate yarn for her projects.  

I asked her if she knows someone who is doing a good deed in the community.

She suggested author Phyllis Tildes.

I plan to spotlight how she’s paying it forward and supporting the youngest minds.