Bev Horton and Mary Reed have been providing an important gift to the community since the beginnings of the COVID epidemic.
The two friends are a team and have been friends for more than 40 years.
"I have known her about 40 years. She was one of my classroom aids when I taught special ed at the middle school 40-some years ago," said Reed.
The two women, who are retired, like to stay busy and give back to the community. They noticed that as students went back to class with the pandemic, they would be needing masks when in their school buildings.
"We got the idea that maybe schools would be interested in them, because the kids had to wear masks at school," said Reed.
Horton is an avid seamstress and enjoys sewing projects. She cannot drive, so she has Reed deliver her mask projects. She commented that she started making masks because several of her friends who had glasses did not like some of the generic masks they could buy. They fogged up their glasses.
"I researched on it and found these patterns, and they loved them. I just sent 20, and they said, 'Can we have more?"'
Legacy Dance then requested some of the masks, and then the preschools, Meals on Wheels, an insurance company, as well as Bishop Tires. Initially, she sewed for friends and family, and the project soon spiraled since the masks were so well-received.
Horton insisted that she refused to make any money on the masks.
"If I can save one person from getting the virus, then it's worth it," indicated Horton.
"We have been working together for years and years, and I know what her skills are, and I know what mine are," said Reed of the arrangement. "I cut them out for the most part, and she sews them, and I deliver them. She bags them up so they are ready for the schools."
Reed checked in at the schools to see what happened if students came to school without a mask. She found that they were given a generic paper blue mask to ensure they had one.
"The kids didn't like them because they were different from the kids who brought their own," she noted. "So, we started distributing masks to the schools."
Reed began with the elementary schools, the High Desert Christian Academy, Powell Butte, and recently the middle school and high school. Reed also delivers to the preschools and public library. She said she makes a special trip to deliver masks to Powell Butte.
"I talk to the secretaries, because they are the ones who usually distribute them," said Reed.
In addition to the schools, the women also deliver to Legacy Dance Studio, Becky Groves Preschool, State Farm Insurance, Country Inn and Suites, Bishop Tires, Toni's BBQ, and Meals on Wheels.
"She brings them in every week, and the kids really love them. They like the Oregon Ducks and the Beaver ones the best. They have been enjoying them, and it's been a real blessing that she does that," commented Karla Samuel, secretary for High Desert Christian Academy.
"She just delivered the first set yesterday, and they seem to be really popular with our students. She does a beautiful job," indicated Dena Marshall, secretary for Crook County High School.
Lisa Johnson, secretary at Steins Pillar Elementary School, said that the drops-offs once per week are really appreciated.
"They are beautifully made, and you can tell there is a lot of time put into them," she commented of the masks.
Reed indicated that she and Horton plan on making the masks until they are no longer needed.
"The kids enjoy them, and we made a bunch of Oregon State and University of Oregon themed material from Jo-Ann's and the kids just glom onto those," she said.
"It's a good project, and there is plenty to do in this community. Everything in the books says, 'Don't get older, get busy,'" concluded Reed.
Interested in masks for your business? Bev Horton can be reached at 541-420-7119.
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