Community Over Crisis: Layton women leads project to make 17,000 face masks for Hill Air Force Base

Community Over Crisis

Clarissa, mask maker for Stand Up USA

LAYTON, Utah (ABC4 News) – Joy Gingrich is already highly touted around Hill Air Force Base but now amid the coronavirus outbreak, Gingrich is giving Hill Air Force Base even more reason to praise her name. Gingrich, a Layton resident, is leading a project to donate 17,000 face masks to the base.

“I have got people from Kaysville to Salt Lake making masks and donating supplies. It is amazing,” says Gingrich.

Gingrich is a founding member of Stand Up USA, a non-profit group based in Utah. Their goal is to match airmen with families in the community. The non-profit was founded after realizing the high suicide rates among airmen, including those at Hill Air Force Base. The group hopes to get the airmen off base and involved in the community so they can have others to lean on.

Airmen from Hill Air Force Base that are matched with a family in the community will go to a ball game or go out to dinner with the family a few times a month. So, when the pandemic struck, Stand Up USA faced an issue.

“Then this pandemic happened and we were like, ‘what can we do now because they can’t get off base?” says Gingrich. “And so we talked to Hill Air Force base and they told us they need masks.”

Gingrich went right to work making face masks to donate to the base. Stand Up USA already has 5,000 masks ready to donate. Also, the group already has enough fabric donated to complete the rest of the masks to reach their goal of 17,000.

“It just warms my heart. (I have) something I am so passionate about and now people are jumping in to help airmen who support us and are on the front lines for us and they are giving back,” says Gingrich.

The project to collect the masks for Hill Air Force Base only started four days ago. Social media wasn’t used at all to spread the word, only the old school way, by word of mouth. Gingrich says she mentioned it to colleagues and neighbors and the word then spread.

“I am amazed. Cause when you live in Layton you think that everyone understands and supports Hill Air Force Base but, all the way into Salt Lake City people heard the word ‘Hill Air Force Base’ and people wanted to help.”

Although Stand Up USA isn’t able to have the airmen into the homes of families in the community, Gingrich hopes that by donating these masks, that the airmen still are able to see that people care about them.

“I hope it shows (the airmen) that we care about them and that we know that they are there protecting us,” Gingrich says. “I hope that these people who are sewing and are donating see how appreciative these airmen are and want to adopt (airmen into their families) once we can have social contact again.”

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