Vincennes University employees helping make masks

Coronavirus Watch Indiana

VINCENNES, Ind. (WEHT) — Some Vincennes University employees are helping meet the demand for face masks by grabbing their sewing machines and making them.

Those masks are being shared with families, healthcare workers, retail store and pharmacy employees, hospitals, government agencies aiding children, and more.

Susan Brocksmith, Department Chair for VU’s Agribusiness and Cosmetology programs, assembled a team of friends and family to make masks for Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes. She’s sewing masks, collecting donations of cleaning supplies for cancer patients, and teaching remotely.

Cassie Vennard has produced more than 145 masks with the help of her children and husband, Jonathan, an instructor in VU’s Advanced CNC and Programming program.

The family’s first donations went to the Knox County Department of Child Services and a nursing home facility in Odon, Ind. She’s currently making masks for first responders and Good Samaritan Hospital.

“I wanted to help people in our community and it’s really easy to put these masks together,” she said. “Orders are flowing in from grocery store workers and factory workers that work at facilities that have been deemed essential business. I’ll keep helping until I can’t anymore or run out of fabric. These are unprecedented times and creating this workflow at my kitchen table that is helping people and giving them a sense of security is in turn helping me cope with my own feelings about being quarantined at home with my family.”

Karen O’Connor, VU Pharmacy Technology Program Chair and Instructor, has made about 50 masks. She is repurposing never-worn scrubs into masks that are double layered and washable. Once a mask is complete, it is washed and sanitized before being delivered.

“The community is coming together as a team,” O’Connor said. “People have tapped into their resources and said, ‘Who can sew? and What can we do?’ We’re all a community. It’s a network of here is what they need and who do we have to do it.” “I can fill a pharmacy order a day. You have to cut the pattern, sew them all together, sterilize them, and deliver them.”

For instructions on how to make masks, click here or here.

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(This story was originally published on March 25, 2020)

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