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NWP give masks for COVID19

In the midst of the recent outbreak of COVID-19 cases, Nuclear Waste Partnership (NWP) employees and employee family members in Carlsbad, New Mexico have been working hard to sew masks as fast as possible.

Jeanne Mitchell is an employee with NWP who works in security. She began working on this project after reading about the stories about nursing homes in Washington state, and how many of those who passed may have survived if they had masks. It struck a chord in Jeanne; her own mother had been a resident of a local nursing home in Carlsbad, although she recently passed a few months prior to the outbreak, this immediately felt like a personal issue she needed to act on. After having conversations with family members who had started making masks in other cities, Jeanne thought she would be interested in making masks for Carlsbad.

“You can always contribute something, if you can’t sew, you can cut fabrics, if you don’t have a sewing machine, you can help deliver masks, you can always do something,” she said with a smile. “I started looking for patterns that I could sew and then I was put in touch with others in the community who also were interested in helping, there are about 10 of us so far,” Mitchell said. They try to have fun making masks by choosing exciting color schemes like camo, or colors and patterns that children may like.

She quickly began gathering materials, including fabric from her own collection. When she went to purchase elastic but couldn’t find any, she altered the design to include ties instead of elastic bands. When the group exhausted the fabric materials from their own collection, NWP purchased additional fabrics to let them continue with the project.

With community outreach projects like mask making and assisting Packs for Hunger, the leadership of NWP has been very supportive of all efforts to assist with the COVID-19 crisis. “There is no instruction manual for how to feel or act during a time like this, but our employees have demonstrated exemplary character and a commitment to community service that they should all be very proud of,” said Sean Dunagan, Project Manager and CEO of NWP.

Another individual involved in the project is thirteen-year-old speed sewer – Mickeyla Van Patten, daughter of Aaron Van Patten, a nuclear safety engineer at NWP. “I thought this would be something fun and good to do while I was at home, and it would be a nice way to help our community,” Mickeyla said. In just one week, Mickelya has made over 60 masks. After timing herself, she found she could make two masks in thirteen minutes, and she gets faster every time.

The masks will be going to different areas around the community, including Southeast Senior Circle, CARC, Carlsbad Medical Center, Landsun Homes, the Carlsbad Fire Department, the Carlsbad Police Department, and other organizations.

Donations are welcome. To get involved in the project please reach out to Khushroo Ghadiali.

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