Katrina R. McClure

“Order cancelled by supplier.” My stomach dropped. No face masks. I had tried four suppliers and each cancelled. This was early in the pandemic when there was hope that orders would be filled.

As the Executive Director of Sinclair Health Clinic, protecting my team is my responsibility. They risk their health and that of their families to deliver compassionate, science-based care to those without insurance, COVID-19 or not.

Questions, the same questions, flooded my mind. Will our current supply of masks be enough to protect staff and patients? At pre-COVID levels we had months of disposable masks on hand, but the needs changed. With a virus capable of spreading before people feel symptoms, everyone needed a mask, every day. Without any masks to be purchased, how could we safely provide the care our patients needed given our dwindling supply?

Sinclair Health Clinic launched our Cover Sinclair: Community Mask Donation Campaign and asked for help. Within days, cloth masks started coming in.

These masks were stitched with love and care by selfless volunteers. For over 30 years, Sinclair Health Clinic has been able to treat those without insurance through the help of our supportive community. And that enduring truth was evidenced in every stitch, pleat, and hem.

To the masks makers who generously gave hours of time and bolts of fabric to keep my team and our patients safe, I thank you. Your efforts are keeping our clinic open, keeping our team protected, and keeping our patients healthy. You are true heroes.

Thank you to the Valley Maker Mask Group, AppleValley Needle Threaders, Grace Community Church, the Lake Frederick Ladies including Kath Delia and Jamie Ruppmann, Nettie Hottel, Pia Crandall, Brona Tyson, Ken Sellers, Debbie Alverson, Diana Anglero, Debbie Buckner, Libba Pendleton, Tricia Simpson, Marie DiLorenzo, Spencer Marfing, Sue Cadel-Fehr, Virginia McClure, Nicki deMedici, Debbie Langfitt at Classic Touch, Jeri Zitterkab, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the donors who wish to remain anonymous… because of you, Sinclair Health Clinic is “covered” and our entire community is healthier.

As we look to the future, there are many challenges and dark clouds ahead. As long as there are heroes in our community willing to help each other, like our mask makers, I am confident we will weather any storm.

Katrina R. McClure is executive director of the Sinclair Health Clinic in Winchester.

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