September 02, 2020

Supporting Our Communities and Keeping Southwest Virginia Safe – NRV Mask Makers, NRV Public Health Task Force, Virginia Tech

“Be Committed. Be Well”, an initiative to protect the health and promote the well-being of all people in Virginia

Digital Transformation10,000+ masks – that’s how many have been made since one woman started an NRV Mask Makers Facebook Group in mid-March. NRV Mask Makers have been committed to creating and delivering fabric and 3D printed masks to local community needs, local volunteers, first responders, and the patients in the New River Valley as part of the bigger picture – keeping the community safe.

Southwest Virginia has taken proactive steps to mitigate COVID-19. On August 17th, The New River Valley Task Force launched a Community Wellness Commitment (Be Committed. Be Well.) to collaboratively provide residents with effective guidance about COVID-19 and encourage community members to care for the health and well-being of others. The tasks force members include the New River Health District (Virginia Department of Health), area hospitals, the towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg, Montgomery County, local law enforcement and first responder agencies, New River Valley Community Services, Virginia Tech, New River Community College, Radford University, and the Lewis Gale and Carilion health care systems.

As part of the effort, the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) started the #CoverYourBeak campaign, supported by Virginia Tech’s commitment, as an initiative to remind students to mask up and care for each other’s well-being as schools start to reopen. The NRV Mask Makers, including Richard Hammer of 1901 Group, was asked to prototype, tie dye, and install face masks for 44+ Hokie Birds which can be found on the Virginia Tech campus, and around the town of #Blacksburg, #Christiansburg, and #Roanoke.

“Knowing the community can come together and solve a problem, that’s what Blacksburg and Christiansburg and the New River Valley has always done, we’re really good at finding that and articulating that, and knowing we can do that in this vein is spectacular,” Richard Hammer said in an interview with WDBJ.


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