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Gee continues making masks and donating them to help others

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
Theresa Gee, Medicine Lodge, became aware of an immediate need for face masks from her family members, and through her generosity and sewing skills helped many in a growing circle of family, friends and total strangers get what they needed during the coronavirus pandemic.

MEDICINE LODGE—Since about March, Theresa Gee of Medicine Lodge has made more than 605 face masks, using her own quilting scraps and fabric she inherited from her mother. Her goal: To help people and keep them safe from the virus.

Gee began making masks to protect family and friends who are at high risk for COVID-19 or are required to wear them in their workplace.

“I love to sew and make things,” said Gee. “I also love helping people.”

Gee makes masks at no charge for those asking for them. However, some people insisted on giving her a donation for her work so she donates any money received to her church in Medicine Lodge.

“For months the church wasn’t able to meet because of this, and I know they also have bills to pay,” said Gee.

Gee, who is the Secretary of Allied Health and Technical Programs at Pratt Community College, said providing masks for others was in some ways, an extension of her job.

“I have some nieces and cousins who work in the healthcare field and I heard about a shortage of protective equipment,” said Gee. “I asked one niece if they needed face masks. She said they did. They were having to reuse the throw-away masks.”

She began by making 20 masks for her niece and her niece’s coworkers. Gee then contacted her other niece, who also works in healthcare. Her other niece said that would be wonderful as they never know where people are coming in from. Gee then proceeded to make 45 more masks.

Another one of Gee’s niece’s works in a convenience store and she found out they did not have masks for each worker. Her niece wanted one for each worker and her daughters. Then she found out another family member didn’t have access to proper face masks and she sent her five masks, one for each day of the week.

When her daughters’ supervisor told her daughters they needed to begin wearing masks when they were working their shift in the food industry, Gee made one for each crew member at her daughters’ work.

And then orders began coming in from outside her family circle.

“The National Gypsum Mill (Medicine Lodge) called and asked if I could make 135 masks for their workers,” Gee said. “They (National Gypsum Mill) said that if one worker came down with COVID-19 and exposed other workers, they would have to shut down the plant.”

And Gee got busy, making masks to fill that need.

Gee is still making masks as needed. She has had to ask her daughters to help her so that she is able to keep up with the demand.

She said she simply wanted to ensure that her family and friends would always have a clean, sterile mask.

“My mother would be happy that we used her leftover material to help those in need,” she said.

* Jessica Hacker, Pratt Community College, provided information for this article.