Local company sews masks during pandemic

Emily Walters Reporter

Three weeks ago a hairdresser walked into her friend’s office and said “let’s make masks,” and since then three women have made over 400 masks. 

A&H Hose and Fitting in Indian Lake, OH makes hoses for construction and other companies, but with COVID-19 shutting many companies down, business has been slow, so the ladies in the office started sewing masks.

Originally, they wanted to just make masks for their family members who are nurses, but when they posted on Facebook they were making masks and were willing to donate them to those in need, they suddenly were getting requests from all over.  

Mandy Hart, the vice president of A&H, said, “With things being so slow we still wanted to be helpful, so when Lori showed up wanting to make masks we agreed. Things have just grown from there.”

As of April 17, they have made over 400 masks and have given out about 350 of those. The masks have been mailed to Florida, Michigan and Washington state, and have been sent all over Ohio. 

The masks are being used at post offices, respiratory therapy, mammogram divisions and a BCI lab.

“We have lots of friends and family members stop in to hand them out to other family members,” said Hart.

Gwen Walters, the accounting administrator for A&H, said, “It has been nice to get my sewing machine out. We are all learning new tricks and things about our machines.”

Hart said she didn’t actually know how to sew until a week ago, but she sat down one night and kept practicing, and now she is able to sew the masks as well. 

They can make about 24-26 masks from a yard of material. They cut up pantyhose and use that for the ear straps because the fabric is more gentle on ears than elastic. 

“We started out using elastic for the ear straps but my daughter suggested pantyhose and the nurses at Mary Rutan said they loved it so we just decided to use that from now on,” said Hart’s aunt, Lori Lones.

Lones was the one who came to the office to start the idea of making masks for their family. 

A company in Michigan sent them a $50 donation for providing the masks. The masks are free to those who need them but they have been accepting cash donations and material. 

“The cash will just go to us buying more supplies to continue making masks,” said Hart. 

They do get orders for hoses, which is what they are supposed to be making, but once those are processed they will return to making masks.

“We can’t make them very fast but we try our best. We are enjoying perfecting the masks. People who have gotten the masks have been very generous and appreciative of what we are doing,” said Hart.

Emily Walters is a jobs and money reporter. Contact her at [email protected]