Tech Family, neighbors making masks to aid in virus crisis

Mar 30, 2020 | Alumni, Tech Family, Uncategorized

A stitch in time can save lives, so the race is on as the Louisiana Tech Family and its friends and neighbors make masks for healthcare workers, first-responders, and others on the frontlines of the war against Covid-19.

Dorene Kordal, administrative assistant at Tech’s Waggonner Center for Public Policy, was watching a television story about hospital administrations asking sewers to create masks. She immediately called her friend, neighbor, and fellow seamstress Susan Broussard.

“We pooled our resources,” Kordal said, “and started sewing.”

Staci Faulkner (’90, Fashion Merchandising) and her daughter-in-law Megan Faulkner (Art Education) own Garden Baby in Ruston; they specialize in organic clothing for babies and toddlers and also cut and sew their own brand of clothing. Faulkner is providing Kordal and Broussard fabrics to make the masks for high-risk friends and neighbors at no charge as long as supplies last.

Kacey Richard, who also attended Tech, recently joined the duo; together, they make about 60 total a day.

“Our first requests were within hours,” Kordal said. “We have provided masks for the elderly, school workers who continue to feed children, and EMT workers… These are free to those who need them. They take approximately 20 minutes to make from start to finish. It currently is the best way to be of help.”

Faulkner, a Camden, Arkansas native who claims Ruston as her “adopted hometown,” has nearly finished making 85 masks she’d had requests for. She posted a how-to video on her personal Facebook page and now has more requests from locals, as well as California, Texas, and Ohio.

“I am working from my sewing space at home, sewing as quickly as I can, along with my daughter, Alex, who is here from Houston; she works in a restaurant there and is here until they can go back to work,” Faulkner said. “We are using fabrics from previous Garden Baby collections to construct the masks, so the masks are being made with organic cotton material. I brought home several bolts of fabric and hope to see it all turned into masks to send wherever they are needed.”

Faulkner said depending on the requests, she might eventually ask for donations to purchase more fabric, but right now it’s all about “giving back,” she said. “We always try to pass on or donate our extra fabric and scraps from Garden Baby. Clothing manufacturing is a huge contributor to filling up the landfills. If we can do any small part to help reduce the waste, we do. Dorene and others can use our small pieces of fabric to produce goods really needed now, and it really reduces the waste to a minimal level.”