Transportation Security Administration officers are following CDC advice and staying home when they are not working at the airport, and a few of them are making good use of their time by keeping busy sewing masks for family, friends and first responders on the front lines of the coronavirus.
Supervisory TSA officer Susan Schultz, who works at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, has sewn more than 300 masks, sometimes working until midnight to meet what has become a growing demand for masks in her community.
And Justine Waldron, a TSA officer who works at Barnstable Municipal Airport on Cape Cod, has sewn more than 140 masks after work and after helping her 11-year-old son with his homework. As TSA officers, they both know the importance of wearing masks and other personal protection when out in public.
Waldron’s colorful fabric masks feature Native American themes, navigation themes, comic book characters and other lively patterns for her family, friends and her fellow TSA officers to wear outside of work. The hand washable masks have colorful ribbon to tie around the head or ears. Waldron, who has worked for TSA for three years, uses ribbon instead of elastic because prior to joining TSA, she worked as a certified nurse’s assistant and found that when she wore masks, the elastic hurt the back of her ears, so she opted to use ribbon to enable the recipient to choose whether to tie it around their ears or head.
Schultz’s daughter works for a senior advisement agency and mentioned to her mom that a lot of the seniors were in need of masks. So Schultz, a 13-year TSA veteran, joined her daughter and one of her daughter’s colleagues in mask-making. Schultz, the more experienced and skilled seamstress among the three, jumped in to do her part and after much practice in mask-making, she’s got it down to just six steps to produce a mask in about seven minutes.
Sam Schultz said; “I joined them and I’ve been sewing endlessly ever since.”