Fairmont State University professor makes and donates masks for local community


FAIRMONT, W.Va – One Marion County professor is going above and beyond to provide for the community.

Dr. Janie Leary is an Associate Professor in Community Health at Fairmont State University. She tries to teach her students every year how to give back to their communities, which is why she took on a mask making initiative to benefit both Harrison and Marion Counties.

Leary’s mask making project started to help a childhood friend who is now a first responder living in Georgia. Almost a month later of making masks, she has donated more than 550 to organizations around both counties, and across four different states.

Leary has worked closely with the United Way of Harrison County so frontline defenders, as well as her neighbors could be protected by this virus.

“I mean we know that a respiratory illness spreads through coughing, sneezing and breathing,” said Leary. “So, it’s better to wear something, so you are able to protect yourself, and protect everybody else.”

Leary said making masks is the perfect way for her to do her part for the community during this pandemic. It also allows her to take a moment to step away from the computer, especially during these times, where we can all feel trapped behind them sometimes.

“One of the things I always try to teach my students is, part of helping a community stay healthy is doing your part, so making all these just fits with that,” said Leary. “Anything to act as a barrier is helpful from getting yourself or others sick.”

The masks Leary is making are personal protective equipment or PPE. They aren’t being used by medical workers while facing patients with the virus, but when anyone is out and about. They will provide the CDC recommended amount of protection

Leary has been working hard to produce these masks, and she will continue to make masks for her community, as long as there is a need for them.

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