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BWI TSA officer sews, ships hundreds of free masks nationwide while on vacation

BWI Supervisory TSA Officer Jill Hays makes masks to help protect people from the coronavirus in her sewing room. (Photo courtesy of Jill Hays)
Mask made by TSA Supervisor Jill Hayes for her daughter-in-law, a nurse at a rehabilitation facility in Indiana, Pennsylvania. (Photo courtesy of Jill Hays)
Posted at 10:39 AM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-12 17:25:18-04

BALTIMORE — A TSA supervisor at BWI Airport is going above and beyond to help in the fight against COVID-19.

Jill Hays has sewn and shipped more than 600 free masks nationwide to everyone from family to strangers.

It all started in April, when Jill's daughter, a new nurse in Pittsburgh, and her daughter-in-law, who's also a nurse, asked if she would be willing to make them some masks.

The answer of course was yes. Hays made about 25 masks for her daughter and her co-workers, along with 10 child sized masks. Then she made 15 more for her daughter-in-law to share with her colleagues.

A Facebook post later, the rest was history. Requests started pouring in by the hundreds from coast to coast.

“I put out a message on Facebook telling people that regardless of their circumstances that I would make them masks. All they had to do was to send me a message,” Hays said.

The largest request came in from a Florida hospital nurse who requested 60 masks. Another request came in for 40 masks for a nurse’s association.

Some recipients have sent donations in return, including a Bethesda woman who wrote a thank you note with $200. Others have sent photos modeling their new mask.

Making the masks and shipping them isn't cheap, so Hays used the $200 donation to cover shipping costs and to buy more fabric and elastic.

Just when you think she couldn't be more generous, Hays says she was supposed to go away for a week on vacation, but it was canceled over COVID-19. So instead she stayed home and sewed masks six-hours a day. For that, she credits her husband who stepped up to cook, clean, and do yard work.

We here at WMAR-2 News commend Jill for her great deeds.

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