Who Are These New Mask-Making Heroes?

Darden “Pops” McGlothlin learned how to weld after he joined Dallas Makerspace and took a class “and watched some Youtubes.”

That knowledge, and a 14-yearold embroidery machine, gave him nearly everything he needed to become the Melshire Estates COVID-19 mask provider, bagging his masks and then placing them on a metal tree he made from scrap stainless rod he bought at Garland Steel.

“Fourteen years ago, we bought a Brother Mickey Mouse – yes, that is the name, not my term – embroidery machine that was drawing plenty of dust, so I broke it out,” he said. “Since hearing of the need for masks I have busted a box of needles and burned through a slew of thread spools but the machine and I are doing just fine.”

“The flat sheets went pretty fast, but taking apart the fitted sheets has been a beating.” -Darden “Pops” McGlothlin

McGlothlin had made about 300 masks and depleted his supply of old bed sheets and is ready to keep going, if someone can bring him some more sheets, he said. “The flat sheets went pretty fast, but taking apart the fitted sheets has been a beating.”

But Pops isn’t the only one making masks for neighbors these days. University Park teenagers Lydia and Caleigh England have been making masks and donating them to first responders, doctors, nurses, and even their mail carrier.

“The materials used in the latest donation that they made were made possible with a financial contribution from Allane O’Neil, owner of Osgood O’Neil Hair Salons,” their mother Suzanne said.

“My older daughter, Lydia, has been working 12-hour shifts on her sewing machine while her younger sister, Caleigh, has been cutting out patterns,” said their mother.

Nardos Imam, who owns the couture shop Nardos Design at the Plaza at Preston Center, found herself at loose ends after shelter-in-place orders not only meant that she wouldn’t be showing her collection anytime soon, but that brides couldn’t come in for fittings, either.

“For the first week, what I did was a lot of reassuring – ‘You’re going to have a wedding, it’s OK,’” she said. “And then everything was canceled.”

“And I’m in crisis mode – what’s the next thing for me?” she said. The next thing turned out to be making masks.

After talking with hospitals, she began sourcing fabric, pulling together designs, and finding people to sew. Another friend suggested setting up a GoFundMe to help offset her costs, too – which includes keeping her seamstresses employed during the shutdown.

Darden “Pops” McGlothlin has a “mask tree” in his front yard.

Mantra, a charitable organization run by local high school students, is using the profits from their jewelry line to help create COVID-19 protection boxes that contain two sewn facemasks and disinfectant wipes. The boxes will be given to first responders, as well as post office workers and grocery store employees.

“Our organization is demonstrating a tangible way to help others and showing people a way to make use of their time,” said Highland Park junior Paige Selby.

For nearly 40 years, People Newspapers has worked tirelessly to tell the stories—good, bad, and sublime—of our neighbors in the Park Cities and Preston Hollow. To support our efforts, please contact [email protected] for advertising opportunities. Please also consider sharing this story with your friends and social media followers.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at [email protected].

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