When masks were hard to come by during the start of the pandemic, Ohio long-term care resident Miriam Looker channeled Rosie the Riveter and sprang into action to make masks for some relatives. 

Since then, the 95-year-old managed to make thousands of masks for residents at her facility, local nursing homes and other community entities. 

“I thought, ‘Well, [making masks] is something I can do, and it’s helpful.’ So I did it,” Looker, who is a resident at Walnut Crossing, in Marysville, OH, told local media.  “When we’re in quarantine, what you can do is limited. So I might as well make masks.”

Her effort started after her stepson, who is a local doctor, could not find face masks, so she volunteered to help. Her project has led to the creation of more than 3,000 masks, as of late December, which are donated to local nursing homes, hospice centers, schools and churches. 

Looker herself has sewn about 1,700 and typically aims to make 10 per day. She’s also received help from friends at the facility, like Joann Shroyer, who’s sewn about 1,300 herself. Looker “puts the ‘great’ in ‘Greatest Generation,’” Walnut Crossing Executive Director Aimee Doneyhue said.

“Miriam breaks the stereotype of older adults and embodies the strength, devotion and compassion possessed by the residents of Walnut Crossing,” she said. 

Looker, who regularly quilted before the pandemic, said “it’s kind of nice to know your efforts haven’t been in vain.” 

“Maybe I did help somebody.”

Indeed she has — thousands of times over.