Indiana is set to enter its fifth and final stage of Governor Holcomb’s “Back On Track Indiana” plan on July 4. Hospitals and testing sites in Allen County have continued to report around 35 new cases of coronavirus every day for the past few weeks. As neighboring states are experiencing a moderate increase, there continues to be an inherent risk to the public of the possibility of contracting the coronavirus, which has claimed the lives of 106 our community members in Allen County, 2,553 in Indiana, and over 128,000 people nationwide.
However politicized the idea of taking precautions to protect yourself has been recently, during a presentation on June 29, Vice President, Mike Pence recommended that “…people should continue to practice good hygiene, wash your hands, avoid touching your face and wear a mask wherever it’s indicated or wherever you’re not able to practice the kind of social distancing that would prevent the spread of the coronavirus.”
In response to the continued risk of exposure to the virus, the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary Post 47 joined together to aid the local veteran community by making masks. Organizer of the of the project, Beulah Matczak said, “The Legion wanted to do something for veterans, since many cannot afford masks and we have a lot of seniors. But, I don’t sew, however, I do know some people who do. So, we sat down and put together a small team of 6 sewers inside the Post. Quickly, the word got around and I had people calling me to help too. Right now, we have about 32 volunteer sewers and I’m very proud to announce that we are now at over 1,342 masks made and given out!”
Matczak says that veterans can come to Post 47 and pick one up for free, but there is still a high demand, so masks may not always be in stock. She says that all the materials to make masks were originally donated by the sewers from extra material they already had laying around. However, as time went on, donations that were received in return for the masks helped buy some of the harder to find materials like elastic straps.
“Having appropriate protection against the virus is a concern for everyone, and I am so grateful for the many people who stepped up to help; a lot of Waynedale ladies and some men lent a hand too. Everyone working together was so fantastic.” Matczak continued, “I want to thank everyone who volunteered their time or donated materials to make masks. Thank you to all of our veterans and those currently serving our country. God bless America.”