People who help those who need it
A close-up view of a plastic face shield, one of the first made Monday by Pilot Mountain’s Xtreme! Marketing. – Submitted photo
Extreme! Marketing graphic designer Daniel Moore, left, models one of the company’s medical face shields, while company owner John Tarn holds a piece of cut plastic that his company was able to obtain from an Illinois company. Extreme! manufactures shields for use by people in the medical, emergency services and palliative care fields. – Submitted photo
Here’s a photo collage showing people wearing face masks made by Wendy Carriker, along with a photo of several of the masks stacked up. She has donated over 600, distributing them to groups and individuals in the area, only asking them to donate to the Bears Backpack program. – Submitted photo
A few weeks ago, a Mount Airy resident decided to put her sewing skills to work, making a handful of face masks to give to school cafeteria employees who are still working, preparing and distributing meals to children in the area. during the coronavirus lockdown.
This effort quickly seemed to take on a life of its own, and now, just over a month later, Wendy Carriker has made over 600 masks. The masks are for individuals, local businesses, with some even shipped to a company in Ohio for use by their workforce.
And Carriker hasn’t made a dime from the project – instead asking individuals to donate to the Hungry Bears Backpack program, which sends backpacks full of food every weekend to schoolchildren across town who are at risk of missing out. enough food.
“I was just thinking of making it for the ladies in the cafeteria and that would be the end of it,” said Carriker, a longtime Mount Airy School Board member. It was just over a month ago, when Governor Roy Cooper announced the closure of schools, along with a host of other measures, aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.
Soon someone else asked, then someone else, and the project took off.
“Just by word of mouth it spread like crazy,” Carriker said.
Carriker has long enjoyed sewing and tailoring, so it was natural for her to use these skills in the community. Over the years, she has made “great bear flags,” she said, sold at the Fall Leaf Festival to raise funds for Vincent’s Legacy Kindness Rocks; she made tea towels with sewn patterns and other embroidered materials.
“I used to make dresses to match my daughters, like everyone did in the 80s,” she said with a laugh.
This job helped her hone the skills she now uses for masks and left her with a surplus of material for the project.
“It has been a great way for me to go through my tissue stash. I haven’t had to buy any fabric yet, ”she said, although if many more orders come in she said she will probably have to start buying the raw material to continue making the masks.
One place they are distributed is at North Main Pharmacy in Mount Airy, a business operated by fellow school board member Tim Matthews.
“She provided us with 208 masks,” Matthews said. “We go through them fairly quickly. … We distribute 25 to 30 a day.
The school board president said that because Carriker wouldn’t accept payment for the masks, he didn’t think he could turn around and sell them. Instead, he distributes them to customers when they express a need or desire for one, asking them to donate $ 5 to the backpacks program.
“Last I heard they had raised well over $ 500,” Carriker said of the sales.
This money is important to the backpack program, Matthews said. He explained that while the schools’ efforts to provide two meals a day of food to young people in the area during the week is largely funded by government money.
“The backpack portion (of the food program) is not covered by federal dollars; these are all donations and locally generated support, ”he said. “These are finite dollars that were going fast.”
Matthews was quick to give Carriker full credit for the effort, saying, “I didn’t do any work, I didn’t do anything other than open my doors for people to come in. . ” He said one of the advantages of masks is that they are washable and reusable, unlike “real” surgical masks used by medical professionals.
“You could get three days in one,” he said of professional grade masks. “They’re just paper, and they just collapse eventually.”
Extreme! face shields
Carriker masks aren’t the only locally manufactured personal protective equipment being distributed to those in need.
Extreme! Marketing, at Pilot Mountain, last month began designing plastic face shields for healthcare professionals, providing additional protection over N95 surgical or respiratory masks.
John Tarn, owner of the company, explained earlier this month how the company, in collaboration with several medical professionals, designed a face shield and face shield with the aim of providing them to medical service organizations, palliative and emergency care.
After the design work and prototyping, the company ran into a problem.
“There is no plastic available… for face shields,” Tarn said on April 1. “We were looking high and low.”
So the marketing company turned to making floor stickers that stores could use to put checkouts online, helping store customers know where to stand to maintain a six-foot distance. They also made additional sticker packs for use by businesses with customer safety instructions – instructions outlining the CDC’s recommendations for individuals to follow.
A Mount Airy News article on the project (“Local businesses look to help,” April 2, Mount Airy News, https://www.mtairynews.com/news/85191/local-businesses-look-to-help) caught the attention of Rob MacDougall, CEO of Marathon LS, a biotechnology company based in Canton, Massachusetts.
MacDougall was able to connect Tarn with Bob Butkovich, of Guardsman Laminated of Bensenville, Illinois, who was able to deliver a supply of the appropriate quality plastic to Xtreme! Monday morning.
“He was about to produce them (plastic parts) to the size we needed to put in our laser. They cut them, sent them to use. We’re cutting the face shields right now, ”Tarn said early Monday afternoon.
He said his company had enough plastic to make around 1,000 protective shields, hoping the first batch of 200 would be ready by the end of Tuesday.
The protective shields will be distributed in hospitals, EMS services, palliative care organizations and even some prisons, locally and regionally.
And Tarn said his company was doing the work for free. “It’s our way of giving back and helping,” Tarn said.
A close-up view of a plastic face shield, one of the first made Monday by Pilot Mountain’s Xtreme! Marketing.
Extreme! Marketing graphic designer Daniel Moore, left, models one of the company’s medical face shields, while company owner John Tarn holds a piece of cut plastic that his company was able to obtain from a Illinois business. Extreme! manufactures shields for use by healthcare, emergency and palliative care professionals.
Here’s a photo collage showing people wearing face masks made by Wendy Carriker, along with a photo of several of the masks stacked up. She has donated over 600, distributing them to groups and individuals in the area, only asking them to donate to the Bears Backpack program.