It was Benjamin Franklin who said it first: “A stitch in time saves nine.” But in the past year, it’s been more like “a stitch in these times, saves lives.” And for Valerie Thorn, it all began a year ago, when she got a call from her daughter who works in a nursing home.
“’We have positive cases and we have no PPE. We don’t even have gloves’ and I said that’s not acceptable,” Thorn explained.
And when Valerie was told nursing homes were not on the critical need list at that time, she got angry… then she got busy. She formed the “Brookville Sewing Angels,” a Facebook group that began sewing masks and donating them wherever they were needed. That’s now 27,000 masks… and not just locally, but also in 42 states and 5 countries.
“Our goal was the forgotten front line. We provided masks to nursing homes, schools, dentists, pharmacists, grocery stores, the people that were actually keeping this country running when everything else was shut down,” Thorn said.
But that’s just Valerie’s latest good work. Five years ago when her son died after a car accident she turned her grief into a way to help others and keep his spirit alive. “I thought, okay Valerie, what can you do? So, I thought he always was helping people he had such a kind heart let’s adopt a family for Christmas,” said Thorn.
And that turned into Pudgie’s Presents, an annual collection and donation of gifts to families who otherwise wouldn’t have a Christmas. Then there are the food donations that she also arranges for the House of Bread. All this while working full time at Wright Patt and taking care of her granddaughter.
Lenora Johnson said, “She is a constant bright light anywhere there is darkness. She’s very inspiring. I’ve been very lucky to meet a lot of awesome people in my life but she stands out.”
Now that the need for masks is waning, Valerie is already focusing on what she can do next and she encourages all of us to do the same. Thorn said, “It doesn’t have to be on big magnitude but if everyone did something kind every day for someone imagine how much better this world would be. It would be amazing.”