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Alum and coach work together on face mask project

SOU alum and football coach team up on face masks for virus protection

SOU alum Crystal Clarity and her mother Betty Camner have pulled together to produce homemade face masks to help battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Homemade masks are great for people in the system, not around patients, so that we can control the spread of the virus,” said SOU football coach Charlie Hall.

Hall has organized a drive for personal protective equipment, or PPE, for local health care provider Asante, which offers services to 600,000 people in southern Oregon and northern California. The Asante Foundation, which is Hall’s point of contact, is the philanthropic arm of Asante and teams up with partners in the community to enhance health care in the region.

“My daughter is an ICU nurse at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford,” Hall said. “(She) told my wife and I that Asante had to conserve PPE and that they may need to source their own PPE because of a shortage.

“After making a few calls, I learned Asante was launching PPE donation sites, (and) I asked if I can help with a site in Ashland. I am trying to use my platform as a longtime coach … to rally the community and support our health care workers in need.”

Clarity, who graduated from SOU in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast telecommunications, heard and responded to Hall’s call to action. She works for a small, Seattle-based public relations agency that helps tech startups in the Pacific Northwest. While Clarity is still able to work via virtual meetings, her mother has been put out of a job due to the quarantine.

“I came up with the idea to make the masks a few weeks ago, and purchased all the supplies and had them shipped to my mom,” Clarity said. “My mom loves to sew and I knew this project would give her a sense of purpose, especially since she has so much time on her hands right now.”

The raw materials needed to make the 100 percent cotton and elastic masks were purchased from Joann’s Crafts for under $50 dollars.

“In these unprecedented times, we need to all step up and work together as a community to get through this,” Clarity said. “Even though we can’t physically be together, if we all look for how we can be generous, compassionate and helpful, we’ll be coming together as a community – just in a different way.

“We know hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, food banks, etc, will all need more supplies. This was our way of doing our small part to help.”

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer