DAKOTA NEWS NOW By Ryan Martin | Posted: Wed 8:38 AM, Apr 22, 2020


20 Brookings community members and SDSU Student and Staff have worked together to create more than 1,200 masks.

Sewing masks and gowns has become a big part of Billy Wilburn’s life.

“Sarah Schneider from Brookings Health System contacted me asking me if I would be willing, or if I could help coordinate the effort for homemade PPE, masks and gown, and different things like that,” said Billy Wilburn, the coordinator of the project.

Wilburn has teamed up with other people in Brookings, as well as Jo-Ann’s Fabric to receive fabric.

“We’ve donated to the hospital, the clinics, a couple nursing homes, peope that are working with other people in the public,” Wilburn said.

Sara Schneider is the Brookings Health System Foundation Director. She said the masks are being used everyday.

“Our staff are able to utilize those as long as the patients that come into the building,” Schneider said.

Schneider says the Brookings Health System Foundation currently has plenty of the homemade masks, but they are a little short on other protective gear.

“The biggest need for us right now is isolation gowns and hospital gowns,” Schneider said.

Wilburn is now working on making as many gowns as possible, and helping others do the same.

“What I’m doing specifically is making the pattern using the skills we use in costume design so that it’s easier for other people to make and sew them,” Wilburn said.

Wilburn said it is time consuming, but it’s definitely worth it, and he will continue helping for as long as needed.

“At this point what are you doing at home anyway, so anything you can do to help is what really matters,” Wilburn said.

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