Fort Hood, TX – Following the announcement by the Centers of Disease Control and the Department of Defense, Soldiers who are unable to maintain the social distancing recommendations are encouraged and authorized to wear masks to limit the spread and exposure of COVID-19. Because of this Soldiers and family members from the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team “Greywolf”, 1st Cavalry Division are working to ensure Soldiers are protected so they can protect the nation.
Master Sgt. Adon Torres, the senior career counselor for the brigade, and Tara Thomsen, a Greywolf spouse saw a need to make and distribute masks for the Soldiers and family members of Greywolf who may not have one.
“After hours of looking on line for masks for my family, and seeing everything was sold out I decided to look closer at one of the DIY videos that are constantly on my Facebook page,” Torres said. “After making a few mask for my kids, I realized it was a very simple pattern and extended my services to the other Career Counselors in the BDE because we all have kids about the same age.”
The need to prevent the virus in Greywolf’s formation is one of utmost importance, to not only the leaders and Soldiers, but to the families as well.
”I made masks for people because cloth masks are a community protection device and not a personal protection device,” said Thomsen. “It’s important to me because I don’t want my husband or any of his coworkers to get sick and then bring it home to their families.”
The unfortunate side of COVID-19 is that a person can be infected and be completely symptom free. Stopping the virus by minimizing contact is, right now, the only option Soldiers have while ensuring protecting the nation is the main priority. Despite the virus the brigade still has an obligation to be ready should we be needed.
“Career Counselors are still working hard to reenlist soldiers and will have to come in from time to time to get a contract signed and conduct the reenlistment ceremonies,” Torres said. “So I wanted to ensure they had a mask as a preventive measure.”
Torres and Thomsen have both provided a benefit to the Greywolf brigade and are just an example of how individuals worldwide are using their skills to protect the force and flatten the curve.
“I learned how to sew as a child, and have been sewing and crafting my entire life,” said Thomsen. “I used to make and sell boutique children’s clothing and custom one-of-a-kind purses and handbags. I do enjoy it. Being able to help make masks makes me feel like I am making a difference and assisting the unit.”
Torres, a self-taught sewer, started out making a few masks for her career counselors, but very quickly realized her skills are needed on a larger scale.
“Since we cannot order them I just started sewing as many as possible knowing the other Soldiers would not be able to obtain a mask either,” she said. “Resources are very thin with everything being sold out at the stores and the fabric stores are closed for the most part. I feel lucky to have had a small stock pile of fabric and supplies to be able to help others.”
If Soldiers cannot get access to a mask, they are authorized to use their neck gaiter or baklava as an additional form of protection.
DOD and CDC will provide the most up to date guidance and information.