Bringing out the Best: Hanceville Middle School student making masks for medical professionals

Grace Cooper (Photo courtesy of Kelly Cooper)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Grace Cooper, a 12-year-old Hanceville Middle School seventh grader, was already sewing when the pandemic began, so she had the skills necessary to offer her own response to COVID-19. Since late March, she has manufactured approximately 150 face masks to give away to medical professionals and others across the community.

Proud mom Kelly Cooper told The Tribune, “Even though she’s my child, I have to say she just has a servant’s heart. She loves doing for people. During Christmastime, she had saved all last year to buy gifts for the older people in the nursing homes and stuff. So that’s just kind of how and who she is. She loves doing for people.

“It was around, I’d say, middle to end of March, I had saw a friend of mine that’s a nurse in Louisiana had posted that somebody had made them masks to go over their N-95 masks to help prolong them. And she loves to sew, so I had talked to her about it and showed it to her, and so that’s just where it kind of came about. She wanted to just help.

“She initially made around 20 and I posted it on Facebook, and she got an overwhelming response. I don’t sew; I don’t really know how, but my mother in law helped her get the first 75 out. And she donated some, I believe, to the Folsom Center, Kindred Hospice and some other places, for free. Some people donated some money and some people donated a few supplies, but she wasn’t charging anybody for them. And she’s just continued to do it since.”

After the first post on social media, the young seamstress was overwhelmed with requests from family, friends and local medical professionals who had heard about what she was doing.

Grace Cooper told The Tribune she got her first sewing machine from her grandmother in Louisiana in 2018, and began sewing small projects.

When the pandemic struck and people began scrambling for masks, the young lady- who seems at the moment to be more about action than words, related that the decision to join the cause was an easy one, saying that “My mom showed me the masks and I just started sewing them.”

Asked what it meant to her to be part of the nation’s response to COVID-19, her answer was simple and to the point: “I like being able to help.”

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Grace Cooper displays a load of masks she made to give to area medical professionals. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Cooper)
The family prayed over each batch of masks before they were delivered. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Cooper)

W.C. Mann