Preserve WV AmeriCorps Member Partners with West Virginia Mask Army to Support Healthcare Workers and Community of Pocahontas County
Marilyn Creager, an AmeriCorps Member with the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia's Preserve WV AmeriCorps program, has partnered with the West Virginia Mask Army to sew masks for the public and for Pocahontas County’s healthcare workers.
Creager is currently placed in an AmeriCorps position at the Pocahontas County Opera House and has been supporting the Opera House through help with social media marketing, grant writing, historical research, and event planning. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Creager has switched gears to help her local community with COVID-19 relief.
“Sewing masks made me feel better about everything that was happening. Being stuck at home made me feel helpless, and I wanted to do something,” Creager said. “The Opera House is
located in a fantastic community, and I wanted to continue helping people directly.”
The head of the Potomac Highlands mask hub, Kim Musser, stated that the mask army is something special to her. Once Creager joined the team, she was able to add Pocahontas County to the Potomac Highlands mask hub and make it the largest hub in the West Virginia Mask Army, which was serving over six counties.
“Very quickly, I grew, to the point where I realized that I couldn’t take on just my county alone—being Grant county—so I became Potomac Highlands, which encompasses Grant, Hardy, Pendleton, Mineral, and Hampshire,” Musser said. “Then, the Potomac Highlands became the Eastern Panhandle once [Creager] joined in... We just grew and grew and grew.”
The Mask Army expanded its operations as time went on and is now switching gears to put masks on the faces of the community, rather than just healthcare workers. Each hub has a different priority. Creager is making and distributing GoreTex face shields and is distributing them through Community Care of West Virginia in Marlinton and Green Bank, as well as some through the Deer Creek Clinic in Green Bank, West Virginia.
Overall, Creager’s experience with the West Virginia Mask Army has made her feel more connected to the state.
“Because we have all had to work together to flatten the curve—to varying success—and because there were so many volunteers working with the West Virginia Mask Army to help the state, I felt more connected to the state than I have in a long time. It feels special to be involved with such an amazing group that helped when help was few and far in between,” Creager said.
Musser agrees. “I met so many friends, [Creager] included, throughout the state, and I am just so proud of the state and how we all came together,” she said.
So, as this public health crisis continues, Creager is currently looking for volunteers to continue the sewing project to help community members in Pocahontas County while the state adjusts to the current reality. If you would like to participate, please email Creager at firstname.lastname@example.org and she can discuss volunteering with you.
For more information about the West Virginia Mask Army, please visit https://sites.google.com/view/wv-mask-army/home.
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