Even as the nation finds itself with a sudden shortage of facemasks amid the COVID-19 pandemic, two First Army spouses are using their talents to protect the nation from the virus, one hand-crafted cloth mask at a time.Shortly after the Secretary of Defense directed all individuals on Department of Defense property, installations, and facilities to wear cloth face coverings when they cannot maintain six feet of social distance in public areas or work centers, Cosy Sims and Debbie Rogers started sewing masks as a way to protect members of their family.But as demand for cloth face coverings began to outpace national supplies, Sims and Rogers quickly began to expand their in-home sewing operations.Sims began making the masks after her niece, who worked in a hospital emergency room, reported the shortage that she and her co-workers were facing.“They were in desperate need, especially dealing with the COVID patients,” Sims said. “She needed to swap a fresh one out every hour so that she didn’t have to wash twelve a day.”Her reputation for making masks grew, and Sims began making them for nurses in other hospitals. She also created masks for her nephew, who serves as a Sheriff, and then his Deputies. Additionally, Sims began sewing masks for those in First Army headquarters, with these being distributed by her husband, First Army Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Sims.“It just snowballed,” she said, adding that she has made some in children and toddler sizes. All this sewing and cutting meant that she sometimes produced masks until 2 a.m. Sims said the masks took about 20 minutes each to make at first, but that she got that down to 15 minutes by making them in assembly-line fashion. The process includes washing, ironing, cutting, and assembling. So far, Sims has made more than 500 masks.“Because I’m home, I figured how can I not make them? When people need them I couldn’t just sit here,” she said. “I have the machine to do it so I just felt it was what I needed to do. I got minimal sleep but they needed to be made and they needed to get out fast.”Meanwhile, Debbie Rogers, wife of First Army G3/G5/G7 director Elliott Rogers experienced a similar snowball effect. She started making masks for three of her siblings who work in supermarkets, as well as their co-workers. From there, she branched into producing them for hospital employees. She is currently making a batch for workers at a local hospital.“I went online and printed a pattern one of my friends that works at a hospital suggested,” Rogers said. “It’s a three-tier pattern where you have three different layers – one for the filters, one to cover up the filter, and then the front part of the mask.”She used quilting materials she already had on hand and said the process takes about half an hour.“You cut out the pattern and then I use a quilting tool that’s like a cutting wheel. Then I mark all my lines to stitch, which gives you the seam allowance.”While their reasons for doing so may be slightly different, the two military spouses have seized on their opportunity to contribute to the fight against the Coronavirus. The 900 masks produced between them are helping to protect the force and the nation.