Submitted by Anne Enquist, Lakewood Rotary.
“It turns out that during the pandemic Lakewood has had its own version of Rosie the Riveter,” says Lakewood Rotary Club President Bill Potter. “When Tanya Richardson heard about the shortage of protective masks, she stepped right up and started making them. To date, she’s made hundreds of masks that have been distributed locally and around the country.”
“I’ve used my sewing skills in the past for other good causes such as Days for Girls,” explained Tanya Richardson, “so when covid-19 hit our area, the Founder of Days for Girls encouraged all of us sewists to start making masks. That’s how I got started.”
Tanya’s first batch of masks went to the Tacoma Neonatal Infant Care Unit, where the nurses and visitors needed masks. Since then she’s made masks for nurses at Madigan, the University of Washington Medical Center, nurses making home visits, and even ICU nurses in Victorville, CA.
Once friends learned Tanya was making masks, she started getting lots of requests and contributions of mask-making materials. Now you can see her masks all over Lakewood on waiters, hairdressers, firefighters, cyclists, and Seahawks fans.
When asked why she does it, Tanya said, “I’m into the whole joy of the journey. Sewing is my happy zone. For me, it’s been a lot of fun and mental health therapy.”
What’s different about Tanya’s masks is that she likes to customize them. “I like to know a little about the people they are going to,” says Tanya, “whether it’s colors or hobbies, so the person can get excited when they put on that extra part of their daily ‘fashion.’”
The Rotary Club of Lakewood and the Partners in Rotary learned about Tanya’s masking making and wanted to recognize what she was doing for the community. Both groups decided to honor Tanya as the first recipient of a new, jointly-given award—the Greater Lakewood Unsung Hero Award, which was presented to Tanya at the June 5 Lakewood Rotary videoconference meeting.
Stephanie Wilcox, president of Partners in Rotary, said that Tanya was the perfect choice for the first recipient of this new award. “Just like the name of the award says, we are trying to recognize our local ‘unsung heroes’ during this pandemic,” said Wilcox.
“We are hoping the community will nominate other local heroes for this award who are going the extra mile, either as a volunteer or as part of their work, to help us all get through the covid-19 crisis.”
To nominate someone for the Greater Lakewood Unsung Hero award, simply send a short description of what that person has done in the community during the covid-19 crisis to either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Greater Lakewood Unsung Hero Award
Awarded by the Lakewood Rotary Club and Partners
This award is designed to recognize unsung heroes in the greater Lakewood area who are going the extra mile in some way to help others through the covid-19 pandemic. Nominees can be community volunteers or someone who does that one step extra to be helpful through their job. The selection committee is especially looking for individuals beyond “the usual suspects”—persons who have quietly contributed in some small way to helping others through the virus crisis.
The selection committee will accept nominations from Lakewood Rotarians, Partners, or others in the community. The selection committee would appreciate nominations that include the nominee’s name, contact information, and a short description (approximately 1-2 paragraphs but no more than a page) of what the individual has done.
The award will be presented monthly at the Lakewood Rotary meeting and to the Partners either through email or at the Partners meeting.