The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Project donates masks to protect drivers

April 29, 2020 | Dang Le | managing editor

TCC instructors and students meet to collaborate with making facial masks to increase the Trinity Metro Transit drivers’ safety. Photo credit: Rachael Leventhal-Garnett

An upholstery instructor and a group of students teamed up to make 500 masks for essential Trinity Metro transit drivers.

The board and the vice president of administration from Trinity Metro Detra Whitmore approached South upholstery instructor Sed Lacy to start this project three weeks ago.

“I feel honored that my name was brought up to put an impact on the community out there,” Lacy said.

Since the campus was closed, he went back to contact some of his previous students and one current student.

“He [Lacy] contacted me, saying he heard the transit system needs some masks. And of course, I said, ‘yes,’” Connie Doyle, one of his previous students, said.

Lacy and Doyle joined South student Rachael Leventhal-Garnett, former upholstery students Donna Ward and Edith Owens and South commercial sewing instructor Charon Coffman, who also was one of Lacy’s students, for this project.

Doyle currently owns Abode, a fabric, rugs, and upholstery store in Bedford, Texas. This is where all the members of this project first met. There, they compiled the materials they had together and started working on the process.

All the masks will be made with 100% cotton, so they will be washable and reusable.

Leventhal-Garnett, who has been in the upholstery class for two years and is also the director of operations and donor relations for the Fort Worth Public Library Foundation, said that since her foundation has a lot of the fabric to make masks, her chief executive officer donated to this project.

Then, Ward, who has already sewed masks for her organization, purchased enough elastic for the project. They also receive the mask tab donation from Isaiah Industries, a roofing company that Owens contacted.

All the students and professors worked from home while sheltering in place. Each of them will work on 100 masks. As all the participants have other jobs outside of this, they are not setting any deadlines, but are still looking forward to finishing them within the next two weeks.

Leventhal-Garnett said that it took her around 20 minutes to put together a mask. “It’s very different from sewing upholstery,” she said. “For the first time, I’m sewing very thin fabric, which I have never done before.”

With a commercial sewing machine, she sewed five layers. For her, the mask is easy to make, but putting the side pads on is difficult due to its large size.

“If we had been able to work together in an assembly line, it’d be easier,” Leventhal-Garnett said. “Since we’re all social distancing, it’s just harder.”

As soon as they finish, Lacy will be picking up the masks individually as they are practicing social distancing rules. Then, he would drop them off to Whitmore at the Trinity Metro.

“I feel like it’s a small way that I can help out in this situation with the skill that I have,” Doyle said. “So, it just makes me feel good that they [Metro Transit drivers] can get masks since they’re out there in public risking their health.”

Leventhal-Garnett is also thrilled to be able to contribute to this crisis.

“There’s this sense of accomplishment of doing something a little bit complicated, and I’m a little bit more proficient around it, just to do something that would be helpful and meaningful,” she said.

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