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Getting Masks to the People

11:23 PM · Apr 23, 2020

At the beginning of March, it was apparent to Laurel Krueger that a lot of masks were going to be needed in Douglas County. So she set to work making them herself and organizing a FB group called Douglas County Helpers to help coordinate some of the efforts. That group now has almost 2k members in it. After Laurel started the group, Julie Hammond saw what Laurel was doing and quickly offered to help. Julie, along with her husband Ian are owners of Patriot Automotive on SE Stephens St. They offered up their business to be a central hub for supplies, drop-offs and mask pickups by the general public. Much of the front waiting room area is now filled with mask making supplies and large baskets of masks. To date, the group has made over 15k masks that have been distributed all over Douglas County by the large group of volunteer sewers that are spread out all over Douglas County. When they are done sewing the masks, they drop them off at Patriot Automotive in Roseburg or SoCo Coffee down in Myrtle Creek where they are then distributed. Some of the volunteers have sewn an enormous amount of masks for the community. While I was interviewing Laurel and Julie, one of their super sewers pulled up in the parking lot. Jenett Behrens arrived to pickup more elastic to produce several hundred more masks. She also brought two homemade vases with fresh flowers in them for Laurel and Julie. The friendship and bond that the three have formed in the past several weeks was very evident. Jenett has now sewed an astounding 1,276 masks that she has given away here in Douglas County. I asked her how long it takes to sew one mask and she promptly replied that for the basic style it took 4 min and 52 seconds to produce. “Not everyone can make masks. If I can help people in that way, then I will. The more masks I can make, the more I can help.” Jenett said. This coming fall, Jenett is hoping she gets accepted into the UCC nursing program. Another project that the Douglas County Helpers has recently taken on is supplying the Ronald McDonald houses around the state of Oregon with masks. The houses, located in places like Springfield, Bend and Portland offer families a home away from home for kids and their families while they are receiving medical treatment. Laurel has personally experienced the enormous blessing of the Ronald McDonald houses when her own children were at OHSU/Doernbechers receiving treatment several times. Their longest stay at one of the houses was 30 days. Helping the houses obtain masks was a simple way she could give back. Besides helping the community obtain masks, Laurel and Julie both said the Douglas County Helpers group has been a big source of community and much needed friendship during this difficult time. They both look forward to having a large party with all the volunteers when the pandemic is over. To Pick up a Mask (1 per person) go to: Patriot Automotive 1053 SE Stephens St Roseburg Monday through Friday 9:30am-4pm Masks should be washed after they are picked up to ensure they are clean prior to use. If you would like to support the Douglas County Helpers group with a financial donation, you can do so at their Gofundme page here - The Douglas County Helpers Facebook group can be found here; Photos: 1 - Laurel Krueger and Julie Hammond stand in the office of Patriot Automotive 2. Jenett Behrens (foreground) has sewn over 1,276 masks now for the community. 3. Patriot Automotive on SE Stephens