VICENZA, Italy (April 24, 2020) - During these weeks of quarantine, many people are devoting time to experiment with recipes never tried before, attempt yoga and other forms of physical and mental fitness. But there are others who choose to dedicate their time and resources to do something for others.
One of these is Giulio Rigodanzo--a specialist in U.S Army Garrison Italy's directorate of human resources, who spent part of his time sewing protective masks to be given to his American colleagues and customers.
While Rigodanzo was teleworking earlier this month, he found out some American families missed the distribution of free protective masks by local Veneto region communities. It was then he determined to do something to show Italians do care for the Army families here.
"My initial thought was that maybe this was a misunderstanding," explained Rigodanzo. "So, I called a friend, who works as a civilian within the Vicenza Military Community and who suffers from a form of asthma. I asked if she had received a free mask from the local comune".
He was surprised to hear that she didn’t receive a mask either. It was then he decided to make as many protective masks as he could for those that didn’t receive any to ease their concerns. Rogodanzo wanted to ensure everyone was taken care of during this difficult time.
On Easter he started his project of sewing protective masks for people in need.
"I began searching for a good tutorial on how to make them in accordance with the latest national medical guidelines and to look for fabric around the house. And then I started sewing," he said.
Rigodanzo learned how to sew from his mother.
"My mom used to be a seamstress and she taught me basic sewing skills when I was younger. She wanted me to be independent to mend my own clothes if needed," he added.
"I have never thought that I could use her lessons for something so meaningful during a worldwide pandemic."
Rigodanzo said he had the majority of the fabric at the house but he also needed to purchase other supplies to complete the project. In less than a week he completed 100, three-layer cotton washable masks to turn in to be distributed to those in need.
His masks were provided to the garrison's Central Processing Facility and Army Community Service.
"I received a lot of 'thank you' notes from coworkers and community members who have received my masks," he said. “If this crisis has taught me anything, it is that we are stronger together. We have more free time on our hands and we should utilize it in a productive way to help others and our community."