TEXARKANA, Texas — Mayo Manufacturing is making one-time-use and reusable face masks in hopes of protecting first responders and the public by reducing the spread of COVID-19.
"The whole idea is to take care of the people who are taking care of us," said Steve Mayo.
In response to a call for help Monday from Ark-La-Tex 100 President Kelley Crisp, who is also Bowie County First Assistant District Attorney, Mayo Manufacturing sprang into action. By the end of the day Monday, the company delivered 640 one-time-use masks to the Bowie County Sheriff's Office.
"We reached out to Steve Mayo, President of Mayo Manufacturing, who happened to be working on a prototype for a cloth mask in an effort to assist the public and he immediately agreed to design and create masks for these county employees," Crisp said. "Within hours of the request, Mr. Mayo provided over 600 masks to the sheriff's office. Mr. Mayo's extraordinary act of kindness and generosity is a testament to their longstanding dedication to our community and demonstrates their unwavering support for our law enforcement and other first responders."
Mayo emphasized that the masks are not just for first responders on the Texas-side but for any first responders in the area who want them. Mayo said he is in contact with fire and police supervisors in both Texarkanas and hopes to address local needs anywhere they exist. Mayo said he intends to offer the masks to nursing homes as well. Mayo said he will provide masks to local members of the judiciary and court staff who must interface with others in and out of jail regularly.
The single-use masks do not require any sewing and are a single piece which ties in the back. The masks are not medical grade but could help stem virus spread from someone who is asymptomatic. Medical experts have warned that the virus is likely spreading from people who don't know they're infected. Wearing a mask could help prevent virus-containing droplets from being deposited in the air as a person breathes, talks or coughs but are not a substitution for social distancing.
Mayo said that as production ramps up, he can provide the disposable masks to local grocery stores so shoppers can don one as they enter a store and toss them in a trash bin when they leave.
"That's where everyone is coming together right now," Mayo said.
Mayo said the company can make thousands of the single-use masks per day.
"Production is not going to be a problem but materials could be," Mayo said.
Mayo said he sent a truck Tuesday morning to Dallas to pick up more of the material being used for the single-use masks.
"I don't want to provide false expectations. Our priority is our first responders," Mayo said.
Mayo is asking that any grocer or store manager who wants the free masks for their staff and customers contact him at [email protected] to make arrangements to be placed on a list to receive them.
Mayo Manufacturing is also fabricating cloth masks that can be washed and reused. The reusable masks, like the one-time-use ones, will be provided free of charge to any first responder. Bags of 10 of the cloth masks can be purchased for $50 and the funds will be used to cover the expense of providing the masks free to first responders and to cover the expense of providing free one-time-use masks to grocery stores, Mayo said.
The cloth masks are marked with a tag that includes #CoverUpTexarkana, the company's logo and an email address along with, "Buying one mask provides 100 free masks locally. Thank you!"
Bowie County Sheriff-elect Jeff Neal offered his thanks to Mayo.
"We appreciate Steve Mayo and Mayo Manufacturing for stepping up and filling a need in this time of crisis. Yesterday he provided Bowie County deputies with temporary protective masks and today he is supplying our sheriff's office with more permanent masks whcih are reusable," Neal said. "People like Mr. Mayo are what make our community great."
Mayo Manufacturing has been making upholstered furniture in Texarkana since 1965. Steve Mayo is a former mayor of Texarkana, Texas, and said he hopes members of the community will do their part to end the coronavirus pandemic.
"The most important thing is people need to stay home," Mayo said.
Email [email protected] or call 903-838-0518 for more information or to have your business added to receive free one-time-use masks or purchase reusable cloth ones at 10 for $50