Mask-‘r-Aid perfects the product

She’s worn a mask most of her adult life.

So when Oconomowoc’s Linda Thacker saw the world needed them, she set to work making the ones that would hold their form, conform to the individual’s face and last for weeks.

Thacker developed her own “Mask-‘r-Aid” brand template after researching YouTube videos and hospital websites. A former dental hygienist, Thacker knew a good mask from a faulty one and was immediately aware of the importance of proper nosebands, sizing, durable fabrics, elasticity, and coverage.

“I took it really seriously,” she said. “I’ve been a mask advocate in this pandemic from the very beginning.” Thacker experimented with different mask designs and fabrics, borrowed ideas, and honed others. For the nosebands, she started with strips of aluminum, cutting them out of aluminum bakeware one strip at a time. And then she thought of coated wires. Her search continued for the right width and pliability to run across the fabric. “It was definitely trial and error,” she laughed. Finally finding coated wires at a nearby Dollar Tree in the garden section, Thacker’s husband Ron cut the rolled wire and melted the ends “so the wire didn’t work itself out.” “That’s his contribution and he’s able to help.”

A devout mask advocate, she sent her product to her hairdresser, to friends in Idaho, to Three Pillars Senior Living Communities and to family. “But Shorehaven staff are my biggest fans,” she laughed. Thacker included Mask-‘r-Aid care instructions for proper washing and drying and quickly produced more than 300 masks. “I could see early on people would need masks. It’s hard to find a purpose in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. Mask making gave me a sense of purpose. It’s satisfying to be able to do something for someone else.”

If you’d like to help as well, we continue to accept donations of homemade masks. For pattern information, email Sarah Williams-Berg, Director of Community Relations, at swberg@lho.org.