- Associated Press - Saturday, September 20, 2014

SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. (AP) - As he latch hooks personalized messages into his hand-stitched creations, Anton Koncaba is always thinking of those who will receive his handiwork.

Whether it’s an afghan blanket adorned with the pink, breast cancer awareness ribbon or the solemn “You are not forgotten” message of a prisoner of war flag, the 60-year-old Marine Corps veteran works for weeks at a time to finish each craft, hoping he can soon pass it along to a someone who needs it.

“I’m working on so many projects at once. I don’t really keep track of how long it takes,” he told the Scottsbluff Star-Herald (https://bit.ly/1qOFPEP ). “I seldom keep any of them for myself anymore.”

Koncaba spends about seven hours a day in his room at the Western Nebraska Veteran’s Home assembling his creations, including stocking caps and afghans. It’s a hobby he has enjoyed since he was 10 years old. Through the years, he has crocheted afghans that look like checkerboards, billiard tables, Harley Davidson logos and well-known children’s television show characters, such as Elmo.

“I’ve done so many. I don’t even remember doing all of them,” he said.

Recently, Koncaba completed a 5-foot-6-inch by 7-foot-6-inch afghan replica of the American flag. It’s the third flag design Koncaba has made.

He said he will be sending it to a wounded Marine recovering in Virginia, along with a second afghan sporting the black and red colors and initials of the United States Marine Corps.

“I met him once. He’s a sharp Marine,” he said. “These will work out good for him because his legs still get cold.”

In addition to his crochet work, Koncaba channels his creativity into a number of other crafts.

He has a knack for seeing the potential in items that others might throw away and his keen eye has led him to create countless pint-sized pieces of art. He’s fashioned a working candy machine out of a jar and few pieces of cardboard, miniature airplanes and helicopters from playing cards and a tiny dinette set from soda cans.

When he is not busy crocheting, Koncaba tends to the veterans home’s 43 flags. He also takes a good deal of pride in the vibrant flower gardens the color lawns and walkways around the veterans home.

“I stay pretty active around here,” he said.


Information from: Star-Herald, https://www.starherald.com

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