Tallassee native Billie Jordan is 93 years young, and since early spring she has been very busy making masks to help others protect themselves from the spread of COVID-19. Over the past four months, the lifelong Tallassee resident has made over 900 masks for people in the community — all free of charge.
"I started in the middle of March,” Jordan said. “People donated materials that you couldn't buy, like the elastic.”
With limited supplies at her disposal, Jordan began sewing masks and soon others began donating the needed materials.
"People gave me what they had," Jordan said. "I thought I couldn't make anymore but another lady gave me some more. It was a big roll of wide elastic and I cut it into 8-inch strips. Then someone else donated some more. I'm working on some that was given to me (recently). When I finish with them, so far, I will have made 918."
With so much time away from the rest of the world due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19, Jordan said her new masks making hobby is a win-win for her and for those who have received her masks.
"It's been real good for me, and the more I make, the easier it becomes,” Jordan said. “It's just kept me busy all these weeks and I really appreciate it, and the people have appreciated the masks I've given away."
It's not only individuals who have received Jordan's homemade masks; the creations have made their way to several healthcare facilities in the area.
"I've given them away to several hospitals, and to the nursing home here, and to home health and hospice,” Jordan said. “Anybody that needs them, I have given them to them.”
Because Gov. Kay Ivey has issued a mask mandate requiring everyone in the state to wear a mask in public areas, Jordan plans to continue sewing masks for those who need them.
"I still have plenty to give," she said. "Since the government has passed that mandate, more people might need them. So as long as I am able, I am just going to make them."
A 1945 graduate, Jordan said she picked up her sewing skills while she was a student at Tallassee High School.
"I took home economics and I learned to sew in high school," Jordan said.
As Jordan narrows in on the millennium mark in her mask production, she said she has no plans on slowing down.
"I've really enjoyed this," she said. "It's kept me busy and I would have been miserable without something to do. I've always been active. I can't do yard work anymore. So, I've enjoyed this. I really have."