The Pittsburg Salvation Army recognized Sherry Berndt of C&S Cleaners and Craig Farnsworth of A Plus Cleaners Monday for donating their services to clean coats donated for the organization’s annual coat drive.

The Pittsburg Salvation Army recognized Sherry Berndt of C&S Cleaners and Craig Farnsworth of A Plus Cleaners Monday for donating their services to clean coats donated for the organization’s annual coat drive.

Berndt and Farnsworth were presented with plaques during the monthly Salvation Army Advisory Council luncheon meeting.

“We have been doing these coat drives for many years, and we couldn’t do them without the cleaners,” said Peggy Snyder, council president.

This will be Berndt’s last time to help. After 36 years in the dry cleaning business, she closed her doors on Feb. 29.

“It says on the plaque that I’ve been cleaning coats for the drive for 15 years, and that sounds about right,” she said.

Berndt hasn’t kept count of just how many coats she’s cleaned for the Salvation Army, but said that the winter 2011 coat drive was a good one.

“I’ll bet I cleaned 400 coats this last year,” she said. “We got some good donations. Some friends of mine brought in 80 coats that they collected from their church.”

Farnsworth said he has been helping with the drive for the last two or three years.

“It’s a good cause,” he said. “A lot of good coats come through here, and this gets them to the people who need them.”

In addition to his business at 2308 S. Rouse in Pittsburg, he also operates cleaners in Lamar, Mo., and Fort Scott.

“Craig is so busy that we’re really glad we got him here to give him his plaque,” said Capt. Gary Gugala of the Pittsburg Salvation Army.

Berndt, who was raised in Claremore, Okla., came to Pittsburg in 1976.

“It’s become my second home,” she said. “We have some retirement land in Oklahoma, but I imagine we’ll stay around here, at least for a while.”

She plans to keep busy doing sewing repairs and alterations.

“There aren’t that many people left who still do that kind of thing,” Berndt noted.

Proud of her Cherokee heritage, she has also made Native American jewelry.

“I hope to get back into that,” Berndt said.

For now, she’s enjoying getting out into spring.

“I was trapped inside that building, and it’s nice to be outside during the daytime,” Berndt said. “I want to get out in the sunshine. I know I made a lot of people unhappy when I closed, and I do miss all my customers. With some families I was getting into the third generation of kids.”