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Donating time, materials to keep DIA safe

By Ally Rogers, DIA Public Affairs Defense Intelligence Agency

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JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA BOLLING, WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 17, 2020 ­— In times of crisis and chaos, it’s said that a person’s true character reveals itself. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, there have been many acts of kindness demonstrated by neighbors, communities and strangers.

At the Defense Intelligence Agency, co-workers have stepped-up to lend a hand too.

One example is Meredith Nunn, a member of DIA’s Directorate for Analysis. She’s handsewn and donated more than 50 cloth face coverings to the DIA Police and plans to make more.

“I believe I heard from Officer Scott Motes, on April 4, that they were running out of masks, and DIA was going to start implementing the 100% temp checks that next week,” she said. “I knew from experience that the police have more exposure to personnel and places in the building than any other group, outside of janitorial staff, and I felt compelled to do my part to keep them safe.”

An avid quilter, Nunn has collected a vast amount of material and fabric for her craft room.

“I have been collecting fabric for about 12 years to make different quilts and other sewing projects,” she said. “When I ran out of elastic and tie materials, I purchased a large amount of grosgrain ribbon, one of the recommended/preferred tie materials from medical professionals.”

After she launders, irons, cuts and pins the fabric, it takes her approximately 10 minutes to sew the face covering. She reports that, if she has to make the ties herself, the process adds 40 minutes. But, on average, Nunn estimates that from iron to final stitch, it takes her 30 minutes. Each covering is compliant with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and comes in multiple colors and pattern fabrics.

Regardless of the invested time or the cost of materials, Nunn said she’s not charging.

“I think it is unethical to charge for something simple (that) keeps people safe during this unprecedented time,” she said.

While not looking to expand her operations, Nunn stays busy making and donating face coverings to friends and family members – more than 100 and counting. She’s sent some to her mother’s hospital in Maine, nursing homes staff members, neighbors and essential analysts at DIA.

“I plan to keep making them until I run out of fabric or the need is gone,” she said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Nunn learned about a Facebook group called Million Mask Challenge, which connects “craftivists” in the National Capital Region to make face coverings for medical professionals in the area. Currently, the group features nearly 4,000 members who collectively have made 28,000 face coverings. Inspired by the group, Nunn said not only will she continue creating face coverings for people who’ve asked, but she will create face covering for medical staff in need on behalf of the Million Mask Challenge.