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Tackling COVID-19, one mask at a time

Katie Robertson, Mildenhall Spouses Association member, poses for a photo while wearing a protective mask she made at her home, April 15, 2020. The fabric used for each mask falls within guidelines of the Department of Defense color restrictions and mirrors the Centers for Disease Control’s instructions on how protective face masks should be made to protect individuals from COVID-19. (Courtesy photo)

Katie Robertson, Mildenhall Spouses Association member, poses for a photo while wearing a protective mask she made at her home, April 15, 2020. The fabric used for each mask falls within guidelines of the Department of Defense color restrictions and mirrors the Centers for Disease Control’s instructions on how protective face masks should be made to protect individuals from COVID-19. (Courtesy photo)

Caroline Rogers, 100th Communications Squadron allied support manager, poses for a photo while sewing a protective mask at her home, April 14, 2020. In an effort to support personnel across RAF Mildenhall and the local community, volunteers have started making protective masks to distribute to squadrons and front-line health care workers to help flatten the COVID-19 curve. (Courtesy photo)

Caroline Rogers, 100th Communications Squadron allied support manager, poses for a photo while sewing a protective mask at her home, April 14, 2020. In an effort to support personnel across RAF Mildenhall and the local community, volunteers have started making protective masks to distribute to squadrons and front-line health care workers to help flatten the COVID-19 curve. (Courtesy photo)

Protective masks made by Katie Robertson, Mildenhall Spouses Association member, are displayed at her home, April 16, 2020. The fabric used for each mask falls within guidelines of the Department of Defense color restrictions and mirrors the Centers for Disease Control’s instructions on how protective face masks should be made to protect individuals from COVID-19. (Courtesy photo)

Protective masks made by Katie Robertson, Mildenhall Spouses Association member, are displayed at her home, April 16, 2020. The fabric used for each mask falls within guidelines of the Department of Defense color restrictions and mirrors the Centers for Disease Control’s instructions on how protective face masks should be made to protect individuals from COVID-19. (Courtesy photo)

Taryn Powell, 100th Maintenance Squadron key spouse, sews protective masks at her home, April 15, 2020. In an effort to support personnel across RAF Mildenhall and the local community, volunteers have started making protective masks to distribute to squadrons and front-line health care workers to help flatten the COVID-19 curve. (Courtesy photo)

Taryn Powell, 100th Maintenance Squadron key spouse, sews protective masks at her home, April 15, 2020. In an effort to support personnel across RAF Mildenhall and the local community, volunteers have started making protective masks to distribute to squadrons and front-line health care workers to help flatten the COVID-19 curve. (Courtesy photo)

Katie Robertson, Mildenhall Spouses Association member, sews protective masks at her home, April 16, 2020. The fabric used for each mask falls within guidelines of the Department of Defense color restrictions and mirrors the Centers for Disease Control’s instructions on how protective face masks should be made to protect individuals from COVID-19. (Courtesy photo)

Katie Robertson, Mildenhall Spouses Association member, sews protective masks at her home, April 16, 2020. The fabric used for each mask falls within guidelines of the Department of Defense color restrictions and mirrors the Centers for Disease Control’s instructions on how protective face masks should be made to protect individuals from COVID-19. (Courtesy photo)

RAF MILDENHALL, England --

Team Mildenhall always puts the health and safety of our Airmen, families, local national members and community first while ensuring the mission is accomplished.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have global impact, the Department of Defense has issued guidance that instructs Airmen and base community members to wear protective face masks when physical distancing of 6 feet or more cannot be maintained.

To meet this requirement, Team Mildenhall members and volunteers from the Mildenhall Spouses Association have dedicated their time to make personal protective masks for distribution throughout base units and to front-line health care workers.

“I knew I had to join the volunteering effort because this was a mission I could contribute to in a small way and make an impact,” said Caroline Rogers, 100th Communications Squadron allied support manager.

Rogers, who has already made masks for her own family members working in health care, knows masks can make all the difference in the fight.

“All of these items are needed at the moment to protect our community and its members,” Rogers said.

In the same way Rogers has used her extra time to help out, volunteers from the Mildenhall Spouses Association have also joined the campaign to flatten the curve.

“I was hesitant at first because of everything else I need to take care of each day,” said Taryn Powell, 100th Maintenance Squadron key spouse. “But then I thought to myself, ‘I’m not a health care worker and I’m not on active duty - but I can sew.’ I knew I had to help because it was my duty to do so.”

Powell, along with numerous MSA volunteers, has been using materials that follow the guidelines outlined by the DoD and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The goal is to provide a safe and comfortable mask that can be worn for long periods of time,” said Samantha Kosakowski, 352d Special Operations Support Squadron key spouse. “We work each day to provide as many donations to the community as possible, and we’ll continue working until there is no longer a demand.”

As of April 20, 2020, RAF Mildenhall volunteers have made more than 1,200 masks, and are currently working on many more.

“We as individuals have a duty and need to flatten the curve,” Powell said. “As we’ve learned, wearing masks and practicing physical distancing helps to protect others, slow down the overflow at hospitals and help us get back to some sense of normalcy.”

Katie Robertson, MSA member, agreed.

“After witnessing what’s been going on around the world, I was compelled to help and do everything I could to support our community,” Robertson said. “We’ll continue doing our part, because we should all do what we can during these times and help get back to living normal lives.”

For more information and updates on Team Mildenhall and COVID-19, please use the list of resources below:

If interested in volunteering to make protective masks and other personal protective equipment, please visit the DoD and CDC sites for guidance on how to properly produce and wear items.