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Local couple helps mask Marshalltown

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Bill and Nancy Earny of Marshalltown have been busy in their “mask factory” at home. The couple has produced about 800 masks to distribute to various organizations in Marshalltown.

Bill and Nancy Earny have been making masks for the community for the last four months, and they have no plans to slow down.

“I think we just gave 800 total,” Bill said.

They have donated to the library, House of Compassion, Iowa Veterans Home, Big Brothers Big Sisters and other organizations that have shown a need.

“We’re going to go until all of Marshalltown has masks. That’s what Nancy says,” Bill said.

After watching a video on YouTube about making masks in late March, Nancy decided to give it a try.

“I told Bill, ‘We can do this.’ And he just jumped right in,” she said.

“It’s her sewing machine, so she’s the boss,” Bill said.

They are usually very active in the community, so making masks was a project to focus on during the downtime. They were glad to help out the town by fulfilling the need for masks.

“There’s rarely a day we don’t work on them a couple hours,” Nancy said.

Apart from a couple fabric purchases, they have only had to buy thread and elastic for supplies. Most of the fabric came from Nancy’s own collection, as she used to be a quilter. About a month and a half ago they received fabric donations from a friend and a neighbor. They buy the elastic in 1,000-yard spools to keep up with production.

Nancy said their masks are a bit different from the regular folded ones. They spent some time experimenting with the wire to go on top of the nose in order to get the fit right.

“We do hear people like our masks,” Nancy said.

Sometimes they work on four sewing machines at once, with Bill routinely fixing problems with the machines.

“It’s been a really fun project,” Nancy said.

She credits Bill with keeping the production going after months of making masks.

“My husband is truthfully the driving force now,” she said.

Nancy said sometimes she is ready to take a break, but then she will come downstairs to find him hard at work cutting out fabric and sewing. And so they keep going.

Nancy hopes everyone will recognize the importance of wearing masks.

“The more people wear masks, the healthier we’ll be,” she said.

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Contact Anna Shearer at 641-753-6611 or ashearer@timesrepublican.com.

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