Jeanne Ramelli has served as Business Operations Manager at Armstrong Comfort solutions for the past five years. Typically, Jeanne’s workday starts at 7:30 A.M, but for the past several weeks, Jeanne has been getting up extra early. She’s been starting her day as early as 3:30 AM, hand-making masks to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
In March, a friend who is also a nurse wondered if Jeanne could sew a custom mask for her to wear in public. Having sewed since high school, Jeanne happily obliged. Word of Jeanne’s talent soon began to spread via social media, and soon, requests for custom masks began pouring in. Doctors, nurses, and various health care assistants have all requested masks from Jeanne.
At first, Jeanne had a challenge finding a supply of 1/4" elastic because of the high demand. She turned to Facebook and asked her followers and friends if anyone had 1/4" elastic they might be willing to supply her. Soon, Jeanne had recruited her friends to head to local Dollar Stores and scoop up women’s thin elastic head bands, which are the 1/4" size needed. The elastic supplies were dropped off on Jeanne’s porch so she could continue her work.
Recently, Jack Hutchinson, owner of Hutchinson Dry Cleaners, graciously donated two HUGE, commercial-size spools of elastic Jeanne has been using a personal stock of cotton material for the fabric portion of the masks. She begins by cutting a 9" x 6" fabric square. In about fifteen minutes, she is able to sew the elastic to the cotton and create an 8-1/2" X 4" pleated face mask.
Jeanne is sewing all these masks every day BEFORE she begins her responsibilities as Armstrong Comfort Solutions’ Business Operations Manager at 7:30 a.m. Then, she uses her lunch break to sew more. When her workday is done at 5:00 p.m., Jeanne eats dinner with her family. She immediately starts sewing again, well into the late hours of the night. She’s also started making masks on the weekend.
Jeanne has made and distributed 400 masks to individuals and organizations, FREE of charge. AGH, Sunnyview and Quality of Life Services nursing facilities have received Jeanne’s masks. Grove City Health Care and Butler Memorial Health’s Mental Health Home have received Jeanne’s masks. And many of the most vulnerable members of our community, like the elderly and health-compromised individuals have received Jeanne’s masks. The number of individuals and organizations that have ordered masks continues to grow.
Jeanne’s social media is flooded with messages from people she doesn’t even know, thanking her for what she is doing. One message she received brought her to tears. The message read "Jeanne, you may not be a nurse working on the front lines, but you are working on the front lines by helping us to stay safe."
When asked why she decided to help the fight of COVID-19, Jeanne got a little emotional. "When I think about all the medical professionals risking their own well-being, and the sacrifices they are making to serve the public, I wanted to give back. It is the right thing to do," she said.
Because the demand has increased so dramatically, Jeanne has started asking for donations of more supplies to help make the masks. Donations can be made by directly getting in touch with Jeanne via her Facebook page: https://facebook.com/jeanne.ramelli.1