This is a wonderful story. It started while two Montauk women were excitedly talking about the eagle's nest in Montauk when the idea of making masks for the people in Montauk who may need one crystalized. My main contact on the story was Bonnie Brady
, who wanted me first to pass around credit to Donna Matlack and Joy Hear. I contacted them as well, and typical Montauk, it's all so perfect!
"I actually texted Bonnie to comment on the fact that I saw the bald eagles that are near her house and she asked me if I could help with the mask making project. I said I had a sewing machine and would be happy to help," Hear noted. "There were only a few of us, I believe, involved at the time, so I put something on Facebook and the next thing you know we have a whole small army of Montaukers helping."
"My original role was finding resources and distributing them amongst the people who are helping and trying to get to a few masks themselves. About a week later, I ended up just becoming a sewer because that is where the need was," Hear added. "I am still running around a little bit, collecting things from people and getting them to Bonnie, but mostly I am just sewing. Everyone is so happy to help, we live in a beautiful place."
Donna Matlack sewing masks and some of her completed masks. (Courtesy Photo)
A lead sewer of this committed Montauk group is Donna Matlack, who when asked about the efforts said, "I feel I'm doing God's work making these. Protecting our community one mask at a time!" Then, she added, "My husband is in the very highest risk category, having survived lung and throat cancer, and having three lung surgeries. I literally have (and have always had) a serving heart. I prayed for God to use me to help others through this. Use me as a vessel I said. The next morning I decided to begin making masks. That's how it all began."
That brings us back to Bonnie Brady, sort of the distributor and idea woman. She explained, "We are giving these masks to the EMS workers in Montauk who need them, the folks at IGA who need them, seniors who need them, even gave three to the folks at the local liquor store, and now we are providing high quality masks to all open businesses in Montauk, if they need them. I can't sew, other than a button or whatever, but I am helping as I can. We are using a filter used in air conditioners that are most effective and safe."
Ms. Brady, who is also Executive Director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association in Montauk, proudly stated, "It's a group effort, and I am but a cog in the machine."
Thank-you ladies of Montauk. Your love of community is keeping everyone a touch safer.