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Airman weaves new use for plastic

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Isaac Nicholson
  • 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Helping your community can come in many shapes and sizes. For Tech. Sgt. Sonya Gore, 20th Communications Squadron radio frequency transmissions section chief, it comes through finding a creative way to reuse plastic.

When COVID-19 first started, Gore found herself at home with more free time than she ever had before. She turned to the internet and discovered a way to fuse her love of crochet with her passion for the environment.

Gore learned how to crochet discarded plastic bags into quilt-like sleeping mats that she then gave to homeless people.

“I remember our first conversation about how she created these mats,” said Master Sgt. Andrew Clark, 20th CS former first sergeant. “It made me think about how each time I’m in a city, there are homeless people who sleep on the cold, wet ground. I knew I wanted to help Gore help them as much as I could.”

Each sleeping mat takes up nearly 700 plastic bags, which are donated through 20th CS Airmen, and takes roughly a month to complete. Since they are made from plastic, they are flexible. They can be used as a pillow, sleeping mat or blanket. They’re also water resistant, making them easy to shake dry if they get wet.

Gore learned how to crochet from her mother when she was a child. It is a family tradition that was handed down from her mother, and her mother before her.

“It’s passing down from generation to generation,” said Gore. “I have a six-year-old daughter, so I’m teaching her now too.”

Gore’s endeavor has caught the eye of the Red Cross, affording her the chance to demonstrate her craft and teach to a class of veterans with PTSD.

“I’ve always wanted to help other people,” said Gore. “As this gets bigger and more people get involved, I’ll teach whoever wants to learn.”