BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Massachusetts construction workers are going door-to-door delivering some tiny, simple, critical tools to fight COVID-19: thousands of thin metal strips.
For many volunteers with sewing machines, metal strips are the missing ingredient for making homemade face masks to prevent the virus.
Members of Sheet Metal Workers Local 17 have been stepping up and producing, donating, and hand-delivering the much-needed metal nose strips to volunteers across the Commonwealth.
Renee Walker-Tuttle of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, said she joined a Facebook group for mask-makers and posted asking if anyone had any spare metal strips they could send her. Walker-Tuttle, who is 37 weeks pregnant, is sewing masks for the maternity ward she plans to give birth in.
In the Facebook post, she said "Today was a miserable rainy day. Then a stranger knocked at my door. I was caught a little off guard being that I have been social distancing/sheltering in place. This angel was from the Sheet Metal Local Workers Union No. 17. Standing in the pouring rain he was hand delivering strips of metal for nose wires.
He handed me the package and said “keep up the good work”. I explained to him how much this meant as I am almost 37 weeks pregnant and making masks for the maternity ward where my child will be born. My time to make these is limited. I literally posted a request yesterday and these arrived the next day. This personal delivery will insure I can deliver the masks on time."
"There are so many people involved in this fight," Walker-Tuttle added. "The amount of support is amazing."
While the interaction only lasted five minutes, she said she will always remember the Union's act of kindness.
(Photo: Renee Walker-Tuttle/Facebook)
The International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) Union says on its website that it "stand[s] ready to produce free metal nose pieces for the millions of masks being made by volunteers across the US and Canada."
Members of volunteer groups who are making masks for frontline workers can request a donation of nose strips from local SMART Union workers by clicking here. The nose pieces are 3" x 1/4" and made from .032 aluminum
Another volunteer mask-maker who received an envelope full on thin metal strips said "who would’ve thought this many tiny pieces of metal could make me so happy?"
(Photo: International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers.)