PCC Staff Member makes hundreds of masks

18 May 2020

Pratt Community College (PCC) staff member, Theresa Gee, has made 605 masks to date. Gee and her daughters originally began making masks to protect their family and friends that are at high risk for COVID-19 or are required to wear them in their workplace.

“I love to sew and make things,” said Gee. “I also love helping people.”

Gee has worked at PCC since December of 2012 and is the Secretary of Allied Health and Technical Programs.

“I love working in the technical area. I work with some great instructors,” said Gee. “I grew up in the agriculture field, and this fits right in with it.”

“I have some nieces and cousins that work in the healthcare field and I heard about a shortage of protective equipment,” said Gee. “I asked one niece if they needed face masks. She said they were. They were having to reuse the throw-away masks.”

After asking her niece if they would have a use if she made masks, she began by making 20 masks for her niece and her niece’s coworkers. Gee then contacted her other niece, who works in healthcare. Her other niece said that would be wonderful as they never know where people are coming in from. Gee then proceeded to make 45 more masks.

Gee also began making masks for workers outside of the healthcare field. Another one of Gee’s niece’s works in a convenience store and they did not have masks for each worker. Her niece wanted one for each worker and her daughters.

Gee has yet another niece who works in the healthcare field, and this niece is currently pregnant. Gee made and sent her five masks, one for each day of the week. Her daughters’ supervisor told her daughters they needed to begin wearing masks when they were working their shift in the food industry. So Gee made one for each crew member at her daughters’ work.

When the recommendation to wear masks out in public was released from Governor Kelly, the mask orders picked up even more. National Gypsum Mill called and asked if Gee could make 135 masks for their workers. National Gypsum Mill let Gee know that if one worker came down with COVID-19 and exposed other workers, they would have to shut down the plant. Gee then made the masks for them.

A few of Gee’s family members were informed that they will have to wear masks until mid June, so she made more and sent them to her family members. Gee wanted to ensure that her family would always have a clean, sterile mask.

“The cloth ones you can wash, sanitize and reuse,” said Gee.

While making the masks, there have been a few complications along the way. At one point Gee was having a difficult time finding the quarter-inch elastic to secure the masks, so they began using hair ties. She also asked her daughters to help her so that she is able to keep up with the demand.

Gee’s goal through making the masks has been to help people and keep them safe from the virus. She has been making all of the masks at no charge to those asking for them. Some people have insisted on giving her a donation for all her work. Gee has donated all of the money she has received to her church in Medicine Lodge.
“The church isn’t able to meet because of this, and I know they also have bills to pay,” said Gee.

Gee said that most of the material being used to make the masks is quilt scrap material or is her mother’s material.

“My mother would be happy that we used her leftover material to help those in need.”

The mission of Pratt Community College is maximum student learning, individual and workforce development, high quality instruction and service, and community enrichment. PCC is proud to be a part of the community in Pratt, Kansas. With more than 80 years of history, PCC remains humbled to serve our community and students who come to build a foundation for their future. PCC is a two-year public, comprehensive community college and an area vocational school. For more information visit prattcc.edu or call us at 620-672-5641.