These are your #LocalHeroesordinary people doing extraordinary things in Sweetwater County. This SweetwaterNOW series highlights those often unnoticed acts of kindness to the incredible actions of many in our community.

When the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic hit Sweetwater County, Teri Lynch, 75, put her sewing skills to work to create and donate masks for local care centers, medical centers, schools, and nursing staffs.

Now 10 months into the pandemic, Lynch has made and donated somewhere around 600 masks and counting. Western Wyoming Community College (WWWC) Veterans Club, WWCC Nursing, Sage View Care Center, Deer Trail Assisted Living, The Mission at Castle Rock Rehabilitation Center, Hoarder’s Corner, and Holy Spirit Catholic School have all been recipients of Lynch’s creations.

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“When COVID-19 started, I stayed in-place and started making masks for local care centers, the medical centers, the catholic school, and for nursing staff and students,” Lynch said. “I also did porch pick-ups for people requesting face coverings for a donation towards materials.”

Each of Lynch’s items are unique and individual pieces. This means it can be a time consuming project and her energy and creative levels are crucial to how much she can make. However, she said she gets bored and enjoys taking on projects that challenge her.

“I needed something worthwhile to challenge me,” she said. “I find that projects that keep me from getting bored, and there was a need for cloth face coverings.”

In addition to the masks, Lynch has also made and donated about 99 clothing protectors and 47 fidget quilts to the residents at the local care centers.

“I learned about fidget quilts for Alzheimer’s patients and those with restless hands. The challenge stimulated me and there seems to be a need in the care centers,” Lynch said. “They also mentioned to me the need for clothing protectors. I rotate between making these items depending on availability of supplies and my energy level.”

Donating items is not new for Lynch, but the increased need in the community sparked further creativity and productivity. She said she gets help from friends to obtain materials and she also uses local thrift stores whenever she can, which makes her projects even more community-based.

The items Lynch creates are not only made to be functional, but are meant to be viewed as art. She hopes her creations are useful and appreciated.

“I enjoy creating functional art. With face masks, ‘wear in good health and with an attitude,’ guided me in fabric choices,” she said. “The fidget quilts are theme and fantasy guided, and the clothing protectors are repurposed men’s shirts, in most cases. I hope something discarded later brings a person joy and memories.”

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