DRAPER, Utah — Utah State Prison inmates are taking up crochet and making blankets with intricate, patriotic designs for to hospitalized military veterans.

Vietnam Navy veteran Brian Mildenhall was overwhelmed when he learned of the source of his new crochet blanket, KSL-TV (http://bit.ly/2qNa1Xq) reported.

“This just gives me hope in humanity,” he said.

Mildenhall was once in prison himself, and he said he also took up crocheting during that time. For him, the activity became an escape.

“I had a plastic coat hanger that I broke and fashioned it into a crochet hook,” Mildenhall said. “I know how it feels, and I know how to be grateful for the things you take for granted so much in your life.”

Crocheting is still a popular prison pastime, inmates said.

There are about 70 members in the Draper prison’s crochet class that make anything from booties, hats, blankets and scarfs, instructor Danny Pitcher said. He is constantly trying to recruit more to join.

“It’s a diversion for them,” Pitcher said. “It takes their mind off of their misery, and it allows them to do something creative and give back to the community, which is so important for people incarcerated.”

The class recently participated in a Memorial Day event where members prepared 150 blankets for veterans. The inmates said they have many loved ones in the military and decided to add patriotic symbols, words and aircraft carriers to add more of a personal touch to the work.

Members of the class say it was important for them to honor their sacrifice.


Information from: KSL-TV, http://www.ksl.com/