LEXINGTON, OK -- Stitch by stitch, hour by hour, the patriotic pattern methodically takes shape.
At Joseph Harp Correctional Center, you’ll find an army of incarcerated volunteers, giving thanks to military veterans. Inmate, Eric Fowler said, "When we got that picture back with that smile on his face, we're hooked. We had to make more of them."
Fowler is the coordinator of the "Flag Afghan Project." Using donated yarn and inmate labor, this team has crocheted hundreds of American flag blankets. According to Fowler, "Every state in the union has at least one flag and seven different countries."
Heart and soul are woven into every afghan. "We spend a lot of time praying for people when we make these flag afghans," said Fowler.
The motto of this prison ministry is this …“Though we cannot serve our country, we will serve those who have.”
One afghan went to veteran, Guy Groniger. Fowler said, "He passed away a couple years later and he was buried in a casket he made out of cedar, in his dress blues wrapped in his flag afghan. That’s the greatest honor I've had in my life besides the birth of my kids."
This behind bars ministry also makes hats and scarves for the homeless. They also crochet toys for disadvantaged children. Inmate, William Franklin said, "We like it because it makes us feel good."
No payment is ever accepted, but the occasional thank you note. According to Fowler, "We call that a million dollar paycheck. It says "thank you" for your service and I think more Americans need to do that."
Yarn and monetary donations can be sent to Joseph harp Correctional Center:
C/O Flag Afghan Project
16161 Moffat Rd.
Lexington, OK 73051