Hometown Heroes: Not all heroes wear masks...the biggest heroes make them
Jack Mitchell for The Ledger Dispatch
July 14, 2020
While Christine Cox will tell you that her COVID-19 mask making is serendipitous, we say it’s taking a difficult situation and turning it into a chance to be a hometown hero. While few of us could have imagined the March lockdown and what the COVID-19 global pandemic would become, the art of taking a horrible situation and turning it into magic — well masks to be more precise — rests in the talented and capable hands of Christine.
You see, before the pandemic Christine was known best for her jewelry making skills. People would fly in from around the country to take instruction and learn from Christine, as the gifted and talented artist would share her expertise. Christine was also known for her bookbinding skills and decades of work. This, in and of itself, makes for an interesting and successful career, and an amazing person, albeit a story you might not have heard. A humble and quiet success story, living in Amador County and enjoying life, like so many.
It was October of 2019 when a friend coerced Christine into trying something new — sewing.
“I’d had a bad experience many years ago sewing,” laughed Christine. “So, I wasn’t exactly fired up with enthusiasm as my friend, Mary, reassured me that I’d fall in love with sewing. It’s an art all its own. But, she finally wore down my defenses and I jumped in. I loved it and the sewing lessons. It seemed like a great use of time and fun hobby.”
Mary gave Christine a sewing machine.
“A few months later I wanted to learn how to use a serger,” said Christine. “So, another friend gave me one, and yet another friend taught me to use it.”
While just six months into her new sewing hobby, a little thing called the COVID-19 pandemic showed up and turned the world upside down.
“When the March lockdown hit, and as I was watching all the news, my mind kept wandering back to the stories from World War II. How everyone got together and worked to save the nation,” said Christine. “For me, it was serendipitous. It’s like the Gods said, hey this big thing is on the horizon, maybe we’d better get Christine ready. You know, teach her to sew. Teach her to use a serger. Get her set to help make a difference,” joked Christine. “It’s the only way I can explain the timing.”
With humble beginnings. Christine went online and called on friends for donations. Before she knew it, she had fabric, thread, elastic — all the pieces she would need to become a mask-making force.
“It was incredible,” said Christine. “All these friends and families donated goods and I just started sewing masks. One after the other. All day, everyday.”
To date she’s made 725 masks. 400 of those were donated back to the community.
“Dr. Bob Hartmann and Perley Tyler have distributed masks made by a few other sewists and myself to Behavioral Services, the homeless, Child and Adult Services and to county workers. I’ve also donated to STARS, Hospice and to EMT workers,” said Christine. “I have asthma so I’ve been isolated but my husband Gene delivers and runs errands for me.”
While on lockdown since March 3, you might think Christine is getting tired of her commitment to provide masks, but it actually is just the opposite.
“It’s about everyone doing what they can to help out,” said Christine. “Everything kind of just lined up and I needed to do my part. I purchase fabric now, and elastic — which is easier to find, for a while there it was a bit of a scramble. It’s not really about me, it’s about what each of us can provide for each other. How we can get through this crazy pandemic. We really are stronger together. We will get through this — together.”