Helping those on the front line
Shelley Sewell is a medical show fanatic.
She said she has always watched shows and movies about pandemics much like what we are facing right now. Sewell admits she has been preparing for COVID-19 since January when she began reading and hearing about it in books and TV.
Sewell, who owns and operates a daycare in Jacksboro, came up with the idea of sewing masks for medical workers. She worked in a factory for six years where she developed sewing skills.
Over the last week or so, Sewell and her co-workers at the daycare, Jennifer Newman and Alyssa Daws, have been sewing and distributing 500 masks for not only hospital workers, but law enforcement, grocery store employees and anyone else who needs them.
Nursing staff members were the primary focus, but then others who could use them were also brought into the mix.
“The masks are reusable with about a 50% success rate,” Sewell said. “If you put a paper towel inside the little sleeve, the success rate goes up to 60% and if you put a coffee filter in, because it’s woven so tightly, the success rate goes up to 62 or 65%. (…) Fifty percent effective is better than 0%.”
The day care is still open, but while the children are on downtime, the three ladies go to work. She said it is an assembly line process with neither Newman nor Daws knowing how to sew, but willing to help.
“I taught myself to sew,” Newman, who is also Sewell’s daughter, explained. “I’ve been taking masks to the individual places as well.”
Sewell said a mask can be sewn in about 7-10 minutes, but about 30 can be made by one person in a day. More than 230 have been taken to the hospital and clinic, another dozen have been taken to the police department, 27 to the grocery store, 40 to the Jack County Sheriff’s Department and 15 to Greystone Rehab Center. Still more are expected to be delivered to shopping establishments and restaurants.
The trio are also taking requests for masks from family and friends. Many groups are making donations to keep the masks which are creatively designed with ribbons.
The masks will continue to be made until the virus is over or no longer needed.