The Mask Makers of CNS
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees from both Y-12 and Pantex have become “mask makers” using their skills and talents behind a sewing machine to make masks for their friends,
neighbors and coworkers.
Pantexan Charlotte Thomas and her husband Brian Thomas
Pantexan Charlotte Thomas has made more than 250 masks, along with the help of her husband Brian Thomas, Potter County Sheriff. He wanted to make sure his people working in the fields and those working in the jail had masks, but like everyone else they couldn’t order any. So Charlotte reached out to a friend from Sunday school who sews and asked for help. The friend directed Charlotte to a YouTube site with a 15-minute mask. On that first day they didn’t even complete one mask, but before the weekend was over they had finished 5 and by the next weekend they’d completed 25. Masks were distributed to their daughter who is an RN working in home health, River Road ISD, and others along with the Potter County Sheriff’s Office.
Charlotte said “Once the picture got out of Brian learning to sew – he had several people call and offer to make masks for him so he very graciously said thank you. And now it is not such a frantic chore to hurry up and finish them. But when you have a family that is comprised of a first responder, a nurse, and a teacher – you learn from the start to give back to the community – they work in those professions because they love serving and that is why we love them. So you help them in any way you can.”
Fellow Pantexan Lauri Minton has also been busy making masks for friends, family, and people in the medical field to wear over their N-95 masks. After her teleworking day ends and on weekends she has made more than 115 masks and a few surgical style hats for a neighbor who is a nurse practitioner in a local pediatric clinic.
Lauri said “I made some for the IS&S folks at Pantex who were issuing laptops and tokens so that many of us could telework; I think having the masks available helped ease their anxieties about exposure risks.”
Y-12er Jennifer Lawson has lost count of how many masks she and her sister have made, but estimate they’re up to around 100.
Jennifer said making masks is a way she can feel like she’s helping people during this scary time. “They at least have the protection of a mask, and in a fabric they chose,” she said. “I view it as a service project and a way to pay forward all the blessings I have. I still have my job, and am able to work from the safety of my home. Also, lots of people don’t know how to sew, and sewing machines are scarce, along with elastic, fabric, and thread.”
Jennifer and her sister don’t accept payment for the masks they make, because she says the joy come from the giving.
“If people insisted, we asked them to find some way to help someone else or make a donation,” she said. “That way, we keep it going. Plus, people have been sending photos wearing the masks they picked out and seeing those just makes my week.”
Another Pantexan Terri Woodruff has also made masks for friends and coworkers. To date she has made between 150-175 masks and continues to make more as people request them.
Lauri also said “most of us are not doing this for the attention or for recognition – I am personally doing it because I feel called to do it (as a Christian). I have been blessed with MUCH, and ‘to whom much is given, much is expected.’”
We salute these and ALL of the “mask makers” of CNS for their contributions to their family, friends, coworkers, and our communities at large.
Former Y-12 employee Sheila Gideon and her family wear masks made by Jennifer Lawson and her sister.
Pantexans and Y 12ers are making masks for coworkers, family members, and friends.