Photo Credit: 
Chronicle photo by Cheyenne Belew
The Fletcher First Baptist Church WMU developed a safe system to collect recycled shopping bags and make masks for those who need them.
The Fletcher First Baptist Church WMU developed a safe system to collect recycled shopping bags and make masks for those who need them.

FLETCHER - No one can forget the iconic scene in the movie, “The Three Amigos” when the small Mexican village is threatened by the villain, “El Guapo.”

The Three Amigos ask the peaceful villagers what they are good at in order to see what type of defense they can muster. The humble villagers reply confidently, “We can sew!”

In the past two weeks, the impact of the coronavirus has slowly become clear in Oklahoma, as well as across America. Daily life has changed for all. Big cities and small town alike.

Most fear the outcome of this pandemic and rightly so. Yet, some have gotten past their fears and reached out to those on the front lines of the fight. The question on many people’s mind is, “What can I do to help?"

In Italy, some sang songs out their windows to cheer others. Some played piano or guitar. But in Fletcher, Oklahoma, they can sew!

Mija Atchley is a local resident and longtime volunteer of the Pregnancy Resource Center of Lawton and the Baptist Disaster Relief of Oklahoma.

She has always had a heart for service. When Mija heard medical personnel needed face masks to protect against the coronavirus, she spun into action. Sewing was something she could do and do well. 

Mija, who was born in South Korea, was taught to sew by her mother and has worked as a seamstress in South Korea and in the United States.

She put out a call for help on Facebook. Only one person replied, Vicki Sullivan. But Mija managed to convince several people from the Woman’s Mission Union (WMU) at her church to help.

Mija, Claudia Herrin, Inju Snyder, Jeannette Ambrose, Debbie Ambrose, Jerri Skinner, Debbie Arthur, Paula Parker, all members of Fletcher First Baptist Church, help make the masks.

The WMU is an organization whose goal is to learn about, pray for and support missions around the world. The organization chose to support this cause, giving of their time, talent and money.

Mija researched the best mask online and decided on a pattern. The masks are made of mostly cotton material with an iron-on interfacing to act as a filter.

When they ran out of the interfacing, the women collected recycled shopping bags in a box on Mija’s front porch. People could drop them off without any contact. Mija keeps most of the supplies at her house. She puts together work bags for volunteers to pick up and work on at their own houses in order to heed the social distancing rule.

Claudia Herrin has reached out to several organizations who may need masks. So far, the WMU ladies have made 520 masks and have provided them to personnel at the Anadarko Indian Clinic, Lifeline Home Health Care, Southwestern Hospital, Entrusted Hearts, the Law- ton/Fort Sill Veterans Center, Monte Vista, Fletcher sanitation workers, and employees of William’s Grocery Store in Elgin.

The Veterans Center employees are not authorized to wear the masks. However, the WMU ladies gave them masks anyway so they could wear them when they are off duty. People are extremely thankful to have the masks made by the WMU. They have been a blessing in a time of uncertainty.

The church’s interim pastor, Dennis Dawson, is especially grateful. He received two masks to give to his daughter who is six months pregnant and works as a nurse.

The ladies of the WMU plan to continue to make the masks at least for another week.

If you would like to donate to help the WMU mask project, you can call the church at (580) 549-6256.