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May 2020 Member Spotlight

Yvette Kreb

 

 

Almost immediately after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Yvette Kreb began production of masks. A mother to special needs children, she knew they would be essential for her family. And as a retired nurse, she saw the increasing demand for personal protection equipment (PPE) and dwindling supplies, so she set out to help. 

To date, Kreb has made over 1,000 masks from her Colorado Springs, Colorado home, generously donating most to health care and front-line workers and others in need during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.  

“I knew I could provide a good product, so that’s been my whole philosophy all the way through,” Kreb said. 

She and her husband, Christof, are parents to eight kids, five adopted from China. With some of their children at risk of more severe illness, they have been keeping up on news of the virus and navigating the changes for their family. 

“Most of our kids have not left our property since the middle of March,” Kreb said. “Most of them are dwarfs, so they are more susceptible.” 

Kreb’s background in nursing meant she was hearing from people throughout her network as life was changing. She quickly saw the need for masks and began sewing.   

“We originally started donating and found that there were organizations donating to big hospitals, but a lot of clinics and front-line workers and nursing homes were not getting the supplies they also needed,” Kreb said. “I ended up getting a growing list of places that needed them through people we know, and people requesting donations.”  

She’s used her experience to create masks that meet basic requirements, as well as including features like nose wires, elastic that slides, and a pocket for inserting filters. She also took a step to make them more comfortable for children and longer wear. 

“First, we provided the masks, then everyone was talking about how their ears hurt. So, we developed what’s called the Mask Nanny – an acrylic piece that holds the elastic to the back of the head,” Kreb said.   

The Mask Nanny, as described on her website, is “made for nurses by a nurse. It extends the elastic from your mask to securely attach it behind your head in a number of different positions while ensuring a good fit (actually better).” 

Requests for her masks and supplies have been coming in from around the country. To keep up, Kreb has focused on all of the sewing, while her family has helped with trimming elastic, sticking the Mask Nanny acrylic, and other parts of production. 

And to stay organized, she set up a website – masksforeveryday.com.  

“It’s been a little crazy,” she admits, and she estimates that at one point they were making 50-75 masks per day to fulfill donation requests. 

Initially, all masks made were donated. When costs of materials and shipping started to add up, Kreb shifted to a more “crowdfunded” platform. Most masks she makes are still donated, but they’re also available for purchase at a discounted rate on her website. Each purchase allows her to donate more to front-line workers and those in need. 

Kreb has also made masks for Christof’s staff at the gun store he owns, Specialty Sports & Supply in Colorado Springs. 

Shortly before starting mask production, both Christof and 13-year-old Brahm Kreb had returned from competing in Men’s Air Pistol at the Olympic Trials Part 2 at Ft. Benning, Georgia. 

Most of the Kreb family shoots competitively. The Krebs’ daughter, Morgan, competed in this year’s Olympic Air Rifle Trials, finishing with the bronze medal in Junior Women’s 10m Air Rifle. Morgan is a high school senior and plans to shoot for the Air Force Academy rifle team starting in the fall.  

Morgan is also helping to teach 9-year-old Griffen Kreb, who is just learning to shoot, when they train with the National Training Center Shooting Club at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.  

“It’s a great sport and one of the few sports that your Olympians and beginners shoot next door to each other,” Kreb said.  

Although competition is on hold, the Kreb family is staying busy and continuing to innovate their mask styles. New masks with material around the immediate mouth area to support those who depend on lip reading are now available on her website. The site also features a variety of fabrics and designs that can “brighten others’ moods as they look at your cute new mask showing off a piece of you,” she writes. 

Kreb’s sewing expertise and dedication is evident in the quality of her masks, and hundreds of people are already grateful for her efforts.  

“I always think of the single mom who works at Walmart and is trying to put food on the table,” Kreb said. “One of the last things she may spend money on is a mask. So, our philosophy is to let the people who can afford to pay for a mask buy one so that we can donate one to that mom and make sure she is going to be ok.” 

 

 

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