JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- According to the Center for Disease Control, the world is undergoing the first pandemic known to be caused by the emergence of a new coronavirus.
On March 16, the White House launched a program to help reduce the spread of COVID-19—leaving many people facing uncertainty. For the men and women of the United States Air Force, the core value of service before self is in full force.
Recently, Tech. Sgt. Adam Edmunds, 735th Air Mobility Squadron guidance and control specialist, was watching the news, like many people, and decided he needed to take action.
Edmund’s first initiative resulted in a food drive for the Hawaii Foodbank.
“I thought, ‘how else could we give back?’” the Mesa, Arizona, native, said. “I thought about people in New York who were reusing masks and I have a lot of family in the medical field, so I did some research and found a template to make masks.”
Edmund’s desire to help is based on previous experience.
“I was stationed at Minot in 2009 when the flood came through,” he said. “Our mission adjusted so when you weren’t working, you filled sandbags and helped the Guard. There was a sense of urgency.”
While Edmund had the idea, Tech. Sgt. Teresa Hedger, 735th AMS crew chief, made it a reality.
“We can’t volunteer because we have to keep social distance, but I’m really crafty and already had the materials,” said the Alto, Texas, native. “There’s a big shortage and there are many people who [may] need protection.”
In between taking care of the 735th AMS mission, which is to provide Rapid Global Mobility in the Indo-Pacific region, Airmen are volunteering to make masks.
“There is a need to do something—to help our families back home who we can’t check on and the people in the hospitals,” said Hedger. “It’s a good feeling that a little mask could help somebody.”
Their goal is to create at least 500 masks.
As of April 3, the CDC recommends everyone wear face masks in public settings.
"The best ways to combat the spread of COVID-19 and protect yourself and others are by social distancing, practicing good hand hygiene, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home if you are sick,” said Maj. Jaclyn Hall, 15th Medical Group public health officer.
Hall also noted the biggest way people can help is in the small act of staying at home to the greatest extent possible.