Quilts of Valor group makes masks

Published 8:00 am Friday, March 27, 2020

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WEST POINT — The women of the Georgia-Alabama State Line Chapter of the Quilts of Valor have done an extraordinary job of making quilts for veterans and active duty military personnel from the two-state area. They are now donating their talent for sewing to help out in a national crisis.

They are making masks that can be used in hospitals and nursing homes to protect health care workers from the spread of the coronavirus.

“I know this is just a drop in the bucket, but every little bit helps,” said chapter spokesperson Sheila Simpson. “We started on Monday, and we’ve made 50 so far. We hope to have 100 by the end of the day on Thursday.”

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People can help them by donating their time or fabric. Monetary donations will help, too.

“It’s a day-to-day thing right now,” Simpson said. “It’s a volunteer project, and we are at sewingmachine.com every week day in downtown West Point. You can call us at (706) 645-1060, and we can tell you how you can help us. You can press for us, cut or sew. We can show you how to do it.”

There’s a national shortage of medical masks, and volunteers are stepping up all over to be of what help they can in this pandemic crisis.

“I’m a visual person,” Simpson said. “I can make something if I can see how it’s done. I learned how to do this by going to Youtube. The Missouri Star Company Surgical Masks has a site that shows you what to do.”

Another good site to check out is the East Alabama Mask Makers Facebook page.

Each mask being made at sewingmachine.com has a comfort cover that acts as a filter. The mask extends from just under the chin to just above the nose. Elastic bands that fit behind the ears holds it in place.

“Elastic is really hard to come up right now,” Simpson said. “We hope to have some coming in real soon.”

The masks are comfortable to wear and offer protection from getting the virus, something that can only be defeated by keeping our healthcare workers safe.

Sewingmachine.com owner and West Point Mayor Steve Tramell said that he and the sewing ladies got busy on this after getting a call from the East Alabama Medical Center asking if they could make masks.

Some of the masks being made will go to EAMC, some will be going to local EMS departments and some to Albany, Georgia, where they’ve been requested.

On Thursday, Simpson was being assisted by Rachel Ramirez, Penney Daniel, Martha Scott and Teresa Booker.

“We would like for people to help us,” Simpson said. “They can sew at home if they prefer, or they can help us here at sewingmachine.com. There are some commercial machines here that can sew 4,000 stitches in a minute.

A domestic machine can do between 1,500 and 2,000.

We have a stockpile of donated fabric, and that helps. Most of us sewers have fabric all over the place. We just love to touch it and feel it.”

The masks being made in West Point look different from the standard medical blue. Some of them have the batman logo and some have the red and black University of Georgia oval G. Simpson said they’d make them with Auburn and Alabama logos if they can get the fabric. Auburn fan Martha Scott said she wanted to see them with the AU logo.

“We will do everything we can to fight this virus,” Tramell said. “I really appreciate what these ladies are doing. Anyone who can sew masks at home and who wants to help us can bring their masks here, and we can include them in our shipments.”