Since 1986, Bev Bottin at Country Crik Sewing has been crafting handmade goods out of her home just south of Odin.
Bottin first learned to sew while in the Comfrey 4-H program.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Bottin has focused her time and energy on making masks. Both of Bottin's stepdaughters work in the medical field in Colorado.
Her oldest stepdaughter, Angela, works as a CT Scan Technologist for McKee Medical Center in Loveland.
"She was calling for 4,000 masks when this all started because PPE's were so low," said Bottin.
"So I downloaded patterns off the internet and tweaked the patterns. My husband is a retired farmer and we found an old N-95 that they used to wear in the grain bins."
Bottin took the N-95 and put one of her homemade masks over it, and sent a photo out to McKee, where it was approved by managers at the hospital.
"The day that Angie got the first package of masks she took them to work that night and the nurses put them on and took a photo and it almost made me cry."
Bottin's younger stepdaughter, Casey, works at UCHealth Greeley Hospital as an RN Charge Nurse- Nurse Navigator. UCHealth had enough PPE to not require any homemade masks.
The masks Bottin crafted are 100% cotton and made with a filter to make it easier to breathe. Bottin has also been hand-making ties for the masks. Material for the ties is running extremely low due to the number of masks being made.
As of Monday morning, Bottin has made 463 masks.
Bottin's masks have been available at Collage Saint James. Each mask comes with a note on how to handle the material for washing, and age limits on masks. A mask with dollar bills on it is inspired by the career of her daughter, Heather, who works at Pioneer Bank in St. James.
The money Bottin receives from people buying her masks goes back into buying material to donate more. Bottin brought 20 masks to the Sherburn fire department mask collection. Sherburn Quilt Shop, in turn, donated two yards of material to Bottin.
Bottin also donated masks to the Odin Fire Department.
Bottin is just one in a number of people nationwide hand-crafting masks.
"There are women in the United States that are sewing and haven't sewn for decades. There are women who have never sewn before that have bought themselves a small sewing machine making masks trying to help."
Bottin and her group from her old church also helped make mission quilts for those affected by Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami that hit Japan in 2011.
"It was the day after Thanksgiving— they had taken pictures of the Governor of Louisiana passing out mission quilts to the victims of the hurricane and in his arms were our quilts from little Ormsby."
Bottin says she does not have an end goal in a total number of masks made.
"There are women that have reached 1,000 across the United States. I'll just keep going until this slows down."
"Hopefully we will come out of this better than we went in. I just hope everyone stays safe."