USN families get creative during quarantine

Several USN families have dusted off their sewing machines and tools to make thousands of pieces of personal protective equipment for health care workers.
By Susan Schoenecker, USNA President 2018-2019
and Kobie Pretorius, USNA President 2019-2020

The minute USNA Past President Susan Schoenecker realized there was a need for personal protective equipment at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and other facilities around town, she got busy. Within days of the first rumbles of COVID-19 in Nashville, Susan had a whole team of USN friends helping her to sew fabric personal protective equipment.

Susan made a great instructional video with clear directions on how to assemble masks, mask covers, and scrub hats. She also directs the effort to collect and deliver hundreds of masks to all the places they are needed. Susan has been an inspiration in our community and we are thankful for her efforts. 

"My sewing machine is getting a great workout. We have reintroduced ‘Home Economics’ to our daily routine," said Susan, of remote learning with her children, Abigail '22 and Tyler '20. "Immersed in uncertainty while participating in social distancing, I am grateful to bring out a skill passed on to me from my mother that I can share with my children. Necessitated by the draw on resources caused by COVID-19, there is a significant need of PPE. Amongst an army of friends and fellow hobbyists, we are doing our part by sewing mask covers."

USNA President Kobie Pretorius and several USN families also have made more than 2,000 face shields, under guidance from Vanderbilt University engineering students and USN parent Duke Herrell. The Greenfield, Herrell, Lippolis, Perdikis, Pretorius, and Simmons families, as well as several of Arts Department Co-Chair Jim Manning’s technical theater students, have a goal of 3,500 face shields. Kobie said she, husband Mias, alumna Mia '19, and Stefan '21 spend about an hour a day on the project. Several USN families also have donated elastic to the project.

Click here to learn how you can help the Nashville community during the pandemic.
    • Blake Perdikis '20 sewing masks.

    • Mias Pretorius models a face shield he built with his family.

    • Stefan Pretorius '21 and Mia Pretorius '19 hope to create 3,500 face shields.

    • Susan Schoenecker and Abigail Schoenecker '22 model the personal protective equipment they've sewn.

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