Smiling elderly woman making masks

Posted: June 4, 2020

Community Life

95 year-old Resident Sews Masks to Help During COVID-19 Crisis

Walnut Crossing resident Miriam Looker-Linscott is celebrating her 95th birthday today, and we wanted to share her story.

Miriam never thought she would be sewing masks to protect health care workers during a pandemic. Miriam, a resident at Walnut Crossing Senior Living Community in Marysville, Ohio, stepped up to fill a need, sewing over 800 cloth masks to date. Her stepson, Dr. Joe Linscott, compares her to WWII “Rosie the Riveters,” a movement of women in WWII who aided the war effort, declaring, “We Can Do It!”

Mrs. Looker-Linscott came up with the idea early on in the pandemic when she saw news reports about the shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) plaguing the nation. As an avid quilter, she had plenty of fabric, donated by The First United Methodist Church, and a sewing machine that worked, though in need of repair. While it being serviced, she used an extra machine from Walnut Crossing, to keep production going.

Miriam donates the masks to Linscott Family Practice, which provides each of their patients with a mask and an additional one for family members if needed. The doctor’s office has also donated masks to a local nursing home. The residents marveled at the craftsmanship and were happy to know that the masks were made locally by someone in their age group.

Miriam’s John Deere tractor masks are especially popular. One was given to a local business owner who lost a tractor in a flood. Some of her masks were given to the Department of Agriculture and they continue to ask for more due to local shortages. Recently she made a baby John Deere mask for her great-grandson, Theodore!

Miriam has a long history of donating her work to worthy causes. She is part of a quilting group that donates quilts to each memory care resident, cancer patients, and to the First United Methodist Church. On Saturday’s she meets with the quilting group at Walnut Crossing to share her skills there. She was thrilled to be featured in the “Daughters of the American Revolution” newsletter for her valiant efforts.

Her, ‘can do it’ attitude and giving nature has ignited a sense of comradery among residents at Walnut Crossing. She has recruited others to sew masks and has inspired team members and neighbors to ask how they can help during this important and challenging time. Miriam is always looking for creative ways to help. She values being part of a community that supports her. “There are a lot of things I can’t do anymore, but I can make quilts.”

After reading about Miriam’s mask making project in the local paper, an anonymous donor dropped a sewing machine off at Walnut Crossings front door, and many have called the Dr. Linscott’s office asking if they could have masks. Due to the overwhelming community support and response, team members at Walnut Crossing will be helping Miriam create a video tutorial so others can learn how to make masks.

Walnut Crossing is grateful for residents like Miriam who use their gifts and talents for the benefit of others. Our philosophy is to help elders write the next fulfilling chapter of their life, and it starts by taking the time to build a connection with each resident and support their pursuit of activities that help them thrive.

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