HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – A Hanscom husband and wife have found creative ways to help themselves, and their neighbors, slow the spread of COVID-19.
Staff Sgt. Christopher Boyd, 66th Air Base Group unit deployment manager, was an essential worker when the orders came down mandating all personnel to wear face coverings. His wife, Michelle, jumped in to find a solution.
“It started as just needing a quick fix for my husband to get into work,” said Michelle, who is prior Air Force.
Michelle said the first mask was handstitched and rough, but it did the trick. She pulled out her old sewing machine and toyed with her designs until they settled on ones they liked. It was during a trip to the commissary that Michelle and Christopher realized they would need to up their production.
“While we were shopping, a woman came up to us and asked about our masks,” said Michelle. “She asked if we’d be able to make some for her and her husband, so of course we said ‘yes’.”
As stores closed and material became more difficult to find, the Boyds had to get innovative. They created masks from items around their home, finding pieces in unexpected places.
“We had a set of flannel sheets, so we used the elastic from the fitted sheet and the remaining fabric to create the masks,” said Michelle.
Even after they had a design that worked, they still knew they could refine their masks even more.
“We browsed every aisle at the hardware stores to see what would work,” said Boyd. “We found filters that we could slide in and out of the coverings to wash them.”
They also found small coils that Michelle wrapped in fabric to create a nose bridge in the mask, allowing Christopher to breathe in his mask without fogging his glasses.
With a system in place, Christopher and Michelle created masks for their families out of state, for their retired neighbors, wingmen in the workplace, and food banks and shelters.
Michelle said as long as they have the means, they will help create masks for whoever needs them, or teach them how to make their own.
“Kindness between strangers is so necessary right now,” she said. “We have all the fabric, material and equipment to make it, so we’ll help anyone we can.”
For information on facial covering volunteer opportunities or how to make coverings, contact the community support coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.