Tyndall AFB official sews masks for VA hospital staff


BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — When Brig. Gen. Patrice Melancon of Tyndall Air Force Base’s Program Management Office isn’t working on the plans for rebuilding Tyndall AFB, she’s using a long-time hobby to help build up VA hospitals around the country. 

Melancon is sewing masks for healthcare workers during the coronavirus pandemic to help them have as much protection as possible while working around hospital facilities.

“I hope this will give them something that will give them a level of protection,” she said on Wednesday. “It’s really exciting to me to be able to do something like this and to use my hobby, something that I really enjoy, to help somebody else.”

Melancon’s military call sign has been “Betsy Ross,” ever since sewing a tattered American flag back together on her base in 2008.

Now, she’s spending some of her off-time sewing masks for VA hospital staff as supplies dwindle due to the coronavirus pandemic, which is also giving her some time to relax and slow down when she is not teleworking on the Tyndall rebuild design plans.

“That really is my relaxation,” she said. “I’ve got to pay attention to my seam allowances and lining things up so I can’t be thinking about the million other things that are swirling around in my head. I’ve got to really focus on that at that time, so it’s very relaxing for me and it’s a real creative outlet for me.”

Melancon said she’s sewn around 30 masks so far and will continue to do so with the extra material she has at home. 


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