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Safety First

A Fairwinds Credit Union vice president makes and donates masks to MetroWest Public Safety officers. 

Jennifer Waters, a vice president with Fairwinds Credit Union in MetroWest, has always enjoyed crafting. However, when a friend asked her to make cloth masks in response to the coronavirus crisis, she was initially hesitant.

“This was right before the CDC recommended that everyone wear masks in public, so at the time I knew any masks I could make wouldn’t be of a sufficient standard for healthcare workers,” Waters explains. “Once the CDC said we should all be wearing some type of mask when we’re out and about, I changed my tune and got to work.”

With banks and credit unions considered essential businesses, Waters has continued working during the COVID-19 stay-at-home order. At home in the evening, she found time on her hands and decided to make masks every night after work.

Waters began by researching mask patterns online, ultimately selecting one featuring pleats and elastic bands. She found that quilter’s fabric was recommended because of its tighter weave. 

“Of course, quilter’s fabric and elastic immediately became hard to find from the usual outlets, so I’ve had to get creative and I’ve been pretty happy with the results,” Waters says. She now spends two to three hours every night, making 15 to 20 masks during each session.

MetroWest Master Association

Because she works in MetroWest, Waters has become involved with the MetroWest Master Association (MWMA), and she now chairs both the MWMA Fine & Hearing Committee and Design Review Board. During a conversation with MWMA General Manager Julie Sanchez, Waters mentioned that she had been making masks for her family and close friends. Sanchez asked if she could make masks for MetroWest Public Safety officers and offered to pay Waters for her time and materials.

“Jennifer absolutely refused to be paid and said that she would be donating the masks,” Sanchez says.

“I’m not doing this to make money, I’m doing it to help people be safe,” Waters says. “Wearing a cloth mask shows consideration for the people around you. It may not stop you from getting the coronavirus, but it could stop you from giving it to others.”

Waters has made 20 washable, cloth masks for MetroWest Public Safety’s 10 officers. Altogether, she has made more than 150 masks for friends, family and employees, even mailing some masks to other states. She continues to refuse payment for her efforts.

“Making masks is a creative outlet and gives me something else to focus on right now,” Waters says. “I’m grateful for the fact that I craft and have the ability to do something that helps people with their coronavirus safety precautions.”  

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